Odd Words: Asomatous


Page 15 of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition gave me a lot to work with. But the words are hard. I think I need to get the Oxford Dictionary that has four pages per physical page along with a magnifying glass. As it is, Merriam-Webster wants to sell me a subscription so I can get the information that real word people need. Today, we have: asomatous.

Asomatous and So Much More

Before we move on to our word, there were a number of good ones. Because of yesterday, I couldn’t us “armomancy.” That is foretelling the future through the use of shoulder bones of animals. Who would have thought? I assume this was at one time even more popular than Taylor Swift. The word “arrack” is a group of hard liquors that are distilled from molasses. Didn’t even know there was such a thing. And here’s a word for our time: arriviste. That’s someone who became rich through unscrupulous means. So Donald Trump is not an arriviste, since he just inherited his money and then lost much of it considering opportunity costs.

Anyway, on to asomatous:

A·so·ma·tous  adjective  \ə-‘sō-mət-əs\

1. bodiless; incorporeal.

Date: mid 18th century.

Origin: late Latin from Greek, ασώματος, which means not (α) body (σώματος).


I looked to my left and saw a wan silhouette of an asomatous necromancer — whom I initially thought to be a crinose, bedraggled mendicant — practicing rhabdomancy.Tom Edmondson

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

3 thoughts on “Odd Words: Asomatous

  1. I can look up the entries in the full Oxford English Dictionary online, through my British local library. So, when you said yesterday, for ‘arithmancy’ “Date: unknown to me.
    Origin: Greek, αριθμός (number) and μαντεία (divination).
    Example: It’s almost impossible to find a reasonable sentence with the word “arithmancy” in it since it was used in the Harry Potter books. —Frank Moraes”
    I can give you their first citation:
    Divination by numbers
    1577 W. Harrison Hist. Descr. Islande Brit. i. ix. f. 28/2, in R. Holinshed Chron. I An old kind of arithmancie, fathered on Pythagoras, yet never invented by him.

    Arrack? Confusing, since the OED (and Wikipedia) gives an alternative spelling of ‘arak’, which is also a Middle Eastern aniseed-flavoured drink.

    • Ah! Arak is very similar to Ouzo, and the Wiki page explained something that always puzzled me; why it turns milky mixed with water. The anise oils are insoluble in water. It’s also unwise to drink it without water; that s**t be strong!

    • Thanks for the information. I’ve been looking at OED on Amazon longingly. But this series isn’t that serious. I think this series is more about my avoiding throwing the book away than anything.

      I think in the few pages I’ve done of the dictionary, it has become clear that it isn’t that good. The cover also says it is wry, but I haven’t noticed that either.

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