Contest: Free iPhone Oxford Dictionary

Posted by ryan
at 2:19 PM on Monday, December 29, 2008

I’m not big on publicizing commercial works due to the obvious bias involved, but we’ve recently finished up the Oxford American College Dictionary and Thesaurus for the iPhone and our client was nice enough to give us a few free download codes. Never one to waste free stuff I thought I’d offer them up to my readers.

So here’s the deal – to distribute these free downloads of our Oxford Dictionary for the iPhone (appstore) I’m going to run a little contest: Post your favorite word in the comments along with your preferred usage of the word (like an example sentence). I’ll pick my favorite five entries after a week or so and will email you your promo codes (so be sure to leave your email address in the comment form). Note: I am a sucker for humor and wit, so be liberal in your application of them.

Most real iPhone dictionaries (from respected publications) go for upwards of $20 – $30 so this is a pretty decent value.

Now wow me with your vocabulary.

The winning words are: sesquipedalian, recidivist, floccinaucinihilipilification, obsequious (indirectly) and esquivalience

You guys should be getting your promo codes in a few minutes. Thanks for the submissions everybody! (and, yes, all these words are in the dictionary app)

tags: iPhone, dictionary


Leave a response

  1. Nathaniel TalbottDecember 29, 2008 @ 02:45 PM

    “Abscond” is one of my favorites, learned back when we did “word of the day” at a consulting gig. Very useful in an office context: “who keeps absconding with my cookies?!?” or “Somebody absconded with my comfy chair while I was in the bathroom! Who was it?”

  2. Ben MabeyDecember 29, 2008 @ 02:59 PM

    “Prevaricate” is a fancy way of saying lying and from what I’m told it not uncommon to hear it in legal documents and the courtroom. The word just sounds bad and is fun to say to people who have no idea what it means…. “I caught you prevaricating yesterday!”, “How dare you prevaricate in front of the children?!?”, etc…

  3. Stephen TousetDecember 29, 2008 @ 03:08 PM

    Hands down, it’s “stupefaction”. The similarity with “liquefaction” makes me envision a similar process going on inside one’s brain, where it becomes sludgy and saturated with the stupid.

    I don’t believe anyone has ever been able to correctly use it in a sentence, unfortunately.

  4. Bernerd SchaeferDecember 29, 2008 @ 03:22 PM

    I have great difficulty finding a word I like more than “syzygy” — referring to the alignment of three celestial bodies (generally: earth, moon, sun).

    The only word that to my mind comes close is “merkin”, or—in SFW terms—a pudendal wig. “The men were in awe of the old prostitute’s hoary merkin.”

  5. Jamie MaceyDecember 29, 2008 @ 03:25 PM

    I’m a fan of “defenestrate.” I don’t know why, but threatening someone with defenestration always sounds worse than it is (throwing them out the window).

  6. Josh BlackDecember 29, 2008 @ 03:28 PM

    My favorite is “exacerbate”, i.e. to make something worse than it already is. The junior high humor value is obviously quite high, since it sounds like masturbate BWAHAHA.

    “I thought some rubbing alcohol might help this open wound feel better, but instead, it just exacerbated the pain.”

  7. Gabe MoothartDecember 29, 2008 @ 03:29 PM

    My favorite word is defenestrate: The act of throwing someone or something out a window. As in “You should defenestrate your old analog TV”, or “defenestration is not a nice way to die”.

  8. Barry HessDecember 29, 2008 @ 03:32 PM

    “Logorrhea” is a fancy, often medical, way of saying diarrhea of the mouth. Diarrhea in the form of excessive, likely incoherent, talkativeness. As Apple might say, this is the funnest definition for a serious word ever.

  9. Ian ZabelDecember 29, 2008 @ 03:32 PM

    I’m gonna have to go with “buffalo”, only because of it’s numerous completely unrelated definitions, and one particular wikipedia entry.

    Ever run into a weird error or problem that you stare at for hours, but it just completely stumps you? (it’s usually a plugin or config problem, believe me) Well, if so, you were buffaloed. One of the definitions of buffalo: “to puzzle or baffle; confuse; mystify”

    It can also mean, of course, the animal, or the city. A fourth definition is “to impress or intimidate by a display of power, importance; to bully”.

    So, some people that are much more creative than I am, came up with the following “use your word in a sentence” sentence (using the 3 latter definitions above):

    “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.”

    It’s a grammatically correct sentence! And I am completely buffaloed by it. :(

    more info:

  10. Jay PhillipsDecember 29, 2008 @ 03:34 PM

    “albatross”, a liability which impedes progress or brings misfortune. The metaphor has an interesting literary origin:

    It comes in handy when programming. A certain piece of unwieldy open-source code or an old, poorly-designed class around which your software is structured can be an albatross that makes your code difficult to test, unreliable, confusing, etc. What may have once been considered a beautiful or clever piece of code can have a pernicious effect over the lifecycle of the software.

    As for “humor and wit”, I’ll let the infinitely sophisticated realm of internet memes continue my avian analogy:

  11. MorganDecember 29, 2008 @ 04:23 PM

    Greetings, I have to agree with J. Macey and G. Moothart. I have a lot of favorite words, but they all go out the window when ‘defenestrate’ comes along.

    — Morgan

  12. Kevin MarshDecember 29, 2008 @ 04:45 PM

    For junior high humor, there is nothing better than mastication, and all its grammatically-correct derivatives. “You masticate!”, “NUH-UH!”, “You don’t chew your food! (har har)”

  13. Alan DykeDecember 29, 2008 @ 05:07 PM

    One of my favorite words is “perendinate”. You’ve doubtlessly heard of “procrastinate”, which literally means to put of until tomorrow. Well perendiate means to put off until the day after tomorrow. It’s obscurity makes it perfect for clearly communicating the wrong intention, for instance when the boss asks about the late assignment, “I’ll be sure to start perendinating it the moment I get back to my desk”.

  14. Jeremy LawlerDecember 29, 2008 @ 05:44 PM

    Sesquipedalian. From latin meaning “foot and a half.” Means “using big words (ie, using words a foot and a half long)”

    This is a contest is a great outlet for the sesquipedalian blog readers.

  15. Adam SandersonDecember 29, 2008 @ 06:11 PM

    “to”, it’s highly efficient, for only two letters you get an enormous pile of words defining it.

    “garrulous” is also nice, and it tends to imply most of the long winded white beards that accost me in coffee shops.

  16. Daniel BeachDecember 29, 2008 @ 06:18 PM

    Redivivus: to come back to life, live again, or be revived. Also, extremely hard to use in normal conversation.

  17. Rob HoehnDecember 29, 2008 @ 06:36 PM

    geek-bone: to get overly excited about technology, particularly something that satisfies a small cult-like group. “The idea of having the Oxford Dictionary on my iPhone is giving me a geek-bone.”

  18. Rob KaufmanDecember 29, 2008 @ 06:56 PM

    Doggerel – A silly poem or verse. Often derogatory.

    I like to use it to describe bad code. It implies that code is poetry… but that this code is crappy poetry.

  19. Marc BaumbachDecember 29, 2008 @ 08:00 PM

    I tried to think of a word, but couldn’t. So I decided to look for the word that means when you are at a loss for words and the best I could find was “anomia.” So that is now my favorite word.

    “My anomia will likely result in me losing this contest.”

  20. David SmithDecember 29, 2008 @ 09:16 PM

    Omphaloskepsis: contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation; something I find myself doing whenever I can’t solve some problem or other. You won’t find the word in many dictionaries, which is why I need a good one for my iPhone!

    “Bubba’s too busy practicing omphaloskepsis to reboot the server now, so we’ll have to wait”

  21. Mike M.December 29, 2008 @ 09:40 PM

    ricoculous [ri-cock-yuh-luhs] -adjective

    causing or worthy of such extreme ridicule or derision that you have to replace the dic with a cock

    It is ricoculous that my property taxes went up $500 this year.

  22. Matt HarrellDecember 29, 2008 @ 11:40 PM

    Ginormous: The beautiful thing about this one is that it’s extremely fun to say, it’s actually in the dictionary ( even though most spell checkers flag it and I don’t even have to explain what it means. I kind of wish it wasn’t in the dictionary.

  23. Marius MathiesenDecember 30, 2008 @ 02:28 AM

    Deja-voodoo: The feeling that you’ve been perforated by small needles before.

  24. AdamDecember 30, 2008 @ 04:06 AM

    “recidivist” is a fantastic word. It just rolls off the tongue.

    A recidivist is a repeat offender, or somebody who lapses into previous undesirable patterns of behavior.

    “The crime wave was due to this recidivist.”

  25. Sam FigueroaDecember 30, 2008 @ 04:50 AM


    “Dynamic scope methods in edge Rails are simply gorgeous.”

  26. Dallas December 30, 2008 @ 11:09 AM

    Condiment: a preparation (a sauce or relish or spice) to enhance flavor or enjoyment; “mustard and ketchup are condiments”

    I draped my juicy meat with my condiment while she gazed up at me wantingly.

    Watching her indulge in my juicy meat, I suddenly realized I had forgotten the condiments.

    ok, I definitely need coffee… or something.

  27. James AndrewsDecember 30, 2008 @ 01:12 PM

    OK, I admit there are some great (and favourite) words here, but this competition is a completely pointless waste of time…

    Consider this my floccinaucinihilipilification.

  28. JonathanDecember 30, 2008 @ 01:49 PM

    I am partial to the word ‘umbrella’. It rolls off the tongue and into the heart, aided by song: “You can stand under my um-br-ell-a, ella, ella, a, a, a.” I now use this melodic, odic, odic, c, c, c, form of emphasis for other word favourites.

  29. KatieDecember 30, 2008 @ 02:22 PM

    Favourite word: if. I find myself using it everyday without realizing it.

    Preferred usage usually involves conditional identities:

    If you need anything, my name is Jill. What if I don’t need anything? Who are you? If you don’t need anything, I’m Eugene.

    (Love Demetri Martin’s Jokes with Guitar)

  30. SeanDecember 30, 2008 @ 03:44 PM

    erudite; obtuse. In today’s world, I find many people who think they’re erudite because they often use words that few other people know (though sometimes out of context), whereas in fact, they’re just being obtuse. Successful communication means understanding one another, and therefore, simple clarity is more important than trying to sound educated.

  31. roller8December 30, 2008 @ 03:56 PM


    That website is about as useful as a superfluous male nipple.

  32. SarahDecember 30, 2008 @ 09:37 PM

    pie: while I enjoy “baked food having a filling of fruit, meat, pudding, etc., prepared in a pastry-lined pan or dish and often topped with a pastry crust,” the definitions that I like best are “extremely well-behaved, agreeable, or the like” and “the illusory prospect of future benefits.”

    Example sentences, with references:

    The children were nice as pie.

    I like pie. You like pie too?—Barack Obama

    Every night he sat upon his throne of pumpkin pie. I do not know his name. He never wanted all the fame that came with pumpkin pie.

    p.s. I must give credit to my ten year old son to bringing this word and its natural humor to my attention. He often asks about the origins of words and a pocket copy of the OED would help immensely in my child rearing. I periodically must go thru great lengths in etymological archaeology:

  33. AdeDecember 30, 2008 @ 10:39 PM

    Ubiquitous. Ubiquitous is one of my favourite words because its not just a long word with short synonyms that would do just as well.

    Recently, I’ve become more fond of it than ever because of a colleague.

    He reassured me one day about the amount of television my child watches. I had expressed worry about plopping my son down in front of the tv for a little while when I need a break, and he told me that many of his fondest memories of early childhood involve watching television. His grandmother, he told me, used to warn him that if he kept watching as much tv as he did, his eyes would go square.

    The next day I heard him use the word “ubiquitous” in casual conversation. By doing so it was clear he has an excellent vocabulary. Television had not ruined his mind. And that’s what made me feel better about letting my son watch Elmo’s World when I’m making dinner.

  34. JayDecember 30, 2008 @ 11:37 PM

    Stroke: the act of moving one’s hand or an object across a surface, applying gentle pressure

    At a startup I used to work for, we had many “wordsmiths” who made new meanings from words. My favorite one that many people in the company used was stroke. What it meant for us was hanging out with the company founders, high level executives, or consultants and talk about the company’s future,current direction, how great the company was,etc. So we would say: “I am going to go stroke the boss. ” “Is there a strokefest tonight?” “You are such a stroker”

  35. GeoffDecember 31, 2008 @ 02:22 PM

    Fard: to paint (the face) with cosmetics

    A farding woman ran into my car today.

  36. Kristofer JosephJanuary 01, 2009 @ 02:59 PM

    “perseverate” Something I do almost daily.

    to repeat something insistently or redundantly: It’s hard not to perseverate in using the word perseverate while describing the act of perseveration almost to the point of perseveration, perseverating, isn’t it.

  37. Giles BowkettJanuary 02, 2009 @ 02:00 AM

    My favorite word is fuck. It’s multi-purpose and it gets people interested, no matter the situation. Whole books have been written on the many different uses of fuck. It can mean love, hate, passion, indifference – pretty much anything.

    I hate vocabulary contests because the big thing I learned in elementary school was to curb my vocabulary. Also junior high school, and high school, and even to some extent later on in life. I remember around my first year of college I described a curriculum as “hella rigorous” and people freaked out because they thought of “rigorous” as an SAT word that nobody used in normal conversation.

    I was using words like that in conversation at home with my parents when I was around 10, and I assumed everybody was. So sad. So tragic. Possibly due to being a gifted child – possibly due to being a first-generation American with English parents.

    Vocabulary contests epitomized a perversity in my life, in that I had to restrain innate verbosity for the sake of general comprehension – which made me feel shamefully obsequious – yet I’d encounter praise as a savant in the academic sphere if I relaxed this same restraint only slightly.

    Back then I hypothesized a ubiquitous anti-intellectual malaise.

    Nowadays, I just don’t give a fuck.

  38. JohnJanuary 02, 2009 @ 09:29 AM

    “esquivalience”—almost surely not in the OED (see

    His subtle esquivalience is ruining our productivity.

  39. Giles BowkettJanuary 02, 2009 @ 02:14 PM

    Yay I won obliquely!

  40. Ryan HeneiseJanuary 02, 2009 @ 05:04 PM

    Varmint (n) a troublesome wild animal, esp. a fox. a troublesome and mischievous person, esp. a child.

    “Hang on honey, let me get my varmint rifle”. “Can you believe the size of that varmint?” “Those varmints better stay off my property.”

    Varmint is especially useful when paired with “abscond”. “Wut the tarnation! Them varmints absconded with mah cookahs again!”

  41. Ryan HeneiseJanuary 02, 2009 @ 05:05 PM

    Also pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconeosis (

  42. Steve WellerJanuary 02, 2009 @ 07:26 PM

    Aibohphobia: fear of palindromes.

  43. Anwar MehdiJanuary 02, 2009 @ 09:06 PM

    your domain is going to expire and will take this website down – please renew it – if you don’t GoDaddy will sell it to the highest bidder

    I don’t do this but I am warning you

  44. Paul CampbellJanuary 05, 2009 @ 05:59 PM

    My favourite word is “woolgathering” ... I love the idea of jumping through a field, sheep to sheep, only to return to the dictionary to find that the wool in woolgathering is actually that fluffy stuff in your brain.

    Today, I have mostly been woolgathering, which makes my daydreams sound much more adventurous than they actually are.

  45. Paul CampbellJanuary 05, 2009 @ 06:04 PM

    My favourite word is “woolgathering” ... I love the idea of jumping through a field, sheep to sheep, only to return to the dictionary to find that the wool in woolgathering is actually that fluffy stuff in your brain.

    Today, I have mostly been woolgathering, which makes my daydreams sound much more adventurous than they actually are.

  46. M. TariqJanuary 14, 2009 @ 01:58 AM