Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Year Wishes

Penultimate is one of my very favorite words and thus I am always excited at this time of year to casually mention to anyone who will listen that, “Oh, by the way, Tuesday will be the penultimate day of the year.” According to, penultimate is defined as “next to the last” or “of or pertaining to a penult,” which, according to the same source, is “the next to the last syllable in a word.”

I’ve known the word for some time, but don’t know exactly where or how I learned it. The meanings of other words are newer to me and often come from the “A Word A Day” email that lands in my inbox each morning. From this venue I’ve learned the meaning of these and other words and phrases: “Toronto blessing,” “cibarious” (quite timely as I was in the midst of managing the "chicken, fish and veggie" function for the Union for Reform Judaism's Biennial convention) and “balbriggan." Still others come from experience. Last year at about this time, I was building my vocabulary with such lovelies as hepatitis C, biliary colic, cholecystitis and laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Suffice it to say, I’d have been perfectly happy to stick with “A Word A Day” to enhance my vocabulary.

In any event, that was last year and this is today. As we look ahead to 2009, I offer you these simple words (no dictionary needed) from a Jewish new year card that I received some time ago:
May the new year find you content with your life, happy in your friendships, and at peace with yourself.


  1. I love word of the day! And I am not the slight bit 'trepid' to use these words in my daily life.

  2. balbriggen sounds dirty to me. I like it.