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This is the third week of my new Wednesday meme – so let’s get to it with a new “c” word addition to your vocabulary:

Cal-li-pyg-ian    (ka-lə-ˈPI-j#ē-#ən)

Cal·li·py·gous  ˌ  (ka-lə -ˈPI-gəs)

My dear Gentle Readers, after almost two years of exchanging thoughts and comments with you, I am learning how your minds work. With little effort I was able to descry what you probably think this word means, and how it might – perhaps – be used.

1.  If I were you, at first blush, without knowing exactly how it is pronounced, I might conjure up a frustrated city-dweller who has been dumped on by one or more of the ubiquitous city pigeons.  For one who will “call ’em as s/he sees ’em,” s/he would also “call a pigeon” a pigeon when he sees a pigeon.

2.  Don’t like that one?  I guess it is sort of a stretch, so how about, a British person who is a fanatical, anal-retentive user of callipers?  As in, “What a nut!  S/he has a set of callipers for every occasion, and is never without at least one pair.  S/he is a complete callipygian!” (If s/he were not British,  the word cal(l)iper would be spelled with one “L.”)

Of course, you would be wrong on both counts – at least as far as those who know the actual definition are concerned.  If you are speaking to those who do not know, then you might as well be right in either case, and after all, who would care?  Speaking as one who would definitely care if I were referred to as callipygian, (yet who knows in her heart of hearts that such an adjective will never be used in reference to her), I will now inform you of the true definition of our word of the week, and show you a photo of the callipygian and non-callipygian endowed.

Callipygian -(adj.) having shapely buttocksCallipygous – variant of callipygian.  Etymology:  Greek kallipygos, from kalli- beautiful + pygē buttocks. First known use: circa 1800.

Now, wouldn’t you love to know the person, on the cusp of the 19th century, who needed a word that would describe shapely buttocks, and then went on to research and come up with one?  It must have been somebody (it had to be a man) who had too much time on his hands, or someone who wanted to disguise his “butt fetish” or “buttocks fixation” while in polite company. You might want to preview the photos below before allowing your young children to view them.  They are definitely PG-13.

So there you have it!  Your “Wednesday’s Word and Picture.”  Now, go out and share your edified education with those around you. The callipygian among you are invited to submit photos for publication.  I wish you all enough. . .









(Words and definitions for my “Wednesday’s Word and Picture” posts are most often found at the following highly-recommended site:  Phrontistery )