Two words new to me, each funny-sounding in its own way:
With a name like assfish, you’re probably used to being the butt of jokes, not a top news item.
After seeing a number of stories pop up about a funky little fish newly displayed at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Weird Animal Question of the Week decided to take the author’s prerogative to ask “What in the world is a bony-eared assfish?”
It’s actually a type of cusk-eel, an eel-like fish that resembles a “glorified tadpole, with a bulbous head and a tapering tail,” Gavin Hanke, curator of vertebrate zoology at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, says via email. […]
In 1887, German ichthyologist Albert Günther bestowed the species with its scientific name, Acanthonus armatus, which may offer a clue to how its common name of bony-eared assfish came about.
Armatus, which means “armed” in Latin, was likely chosen because the fish sports spines off the tip of the nose and the gills. This also perhaps accounts for the “bony-eared” bit, according to Hanke.
Akanthos is Greek for “prickly,” and onus could either mean “hake, a relative of cod,” Hanke says, “or a donkey.”
2) Stuart Kelly in the TLS (June 12 2015 — yes, I’m that far behind), the “Books for Summer” feature:
I yield to no one in my admiration for the criticism of James Wood, even when I think he is profoundly wrong, so the nearest chance to be in his company with The Nearest Thing to Life (Vintage) is a pleasure I have been deferring. His perjink precision is always incisive, and his ability to wend personal belief and human regret into insistent value and persisting truth has annoyed the heck out of me for years.
Perjink is a fine Scots word, meaning “Exact, precise, extremely accurate”; the OED says it goes back to the eighteenth century (implied in 1775 R. Forbes Let. 21 Jan. in Lyon in Mourning III. 350 “But how came you not to observe the address I gave you literally and perjinkly?”) and its etymology is unknown. Oh, and The Nearest Thing to Life is an excellent little book.