Word Buzz Wednesday: Duchenne smile, narwhal, variable reward


Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, in which we round up our favorite buzzworthy words of the week. The latest: the science behind smiles; a non-mythical unicorn; and hooking users with cat videos.

disease model

“Besides using cloning technologies to improve livestock breeding, the new cloning factory, will be ‘the world’s only’ research institution to produce ‘disease models’ of large animals, Xu said.”

Zheping Huang, “China plans to clone everything from beef cattle to the family dog in this giant factory,” Quartz, November 23, 2015

A disease model is an animal that has been genetically engineered “to be predisposed to a certain human disease for research purposes.” For example, mouse models have been used to study a host of diseases, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s.

Duchenne smile

“Between two and six months, infants increasingly employ a so-called Duchenne smile—cheeks raised, eye muscles constricted—to respond to parents’ smiles, which researchers say indicates intense emotion.”

Melinda Beck, “What Your Baby’s Smile Can Tell You About Her Development,” The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2015

The Duchenne smile is named for 19th century French physician Guillaume Duchenne, who studied facial expressions and found that while control of the zygomatic major, the muscles that raise the corners of the mouth, is voluntary, the contraction of the orbicularis oculi, those around the eyes, is involuntary.

Thus, Duchenne concluded that only “the ‘sweet emotions of the soul’ force the orbicularis oculi to contract,” and that “its inertia, in smiling…unmasks a false friend.”


“While regulators maintain that they’re sure the fish is safe to eat, the salmon— which was dubbed ‘Frankenfish’ by its critics — has drawn much contention along its swim to approval.”

Becca Stanek, “For the first time ever, the FDA has approved eating a genetically modified animal: A fast-growing salmon,” The Week, November 19, 2015

Frankenfish plays off the general slang term for genetically modified food, Frankenfood, which originated in the early 1990s, says the Oxford English Dictionary. The Franken- prefix comes from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in which Victor Frankenstein creates his “monster” through an “ambiguous method consisting of chemistry and alchemy.”


“And unlike unicorns, narwhals, a type of toothed whales, actually exist.”

Alice Truong, “Canadian tech unicorns are called ‘narwhals,’” Quartz, November 20, 2015

In the startup world, a unicorn refers to company valued at $1 billion or more. Originally a rare occurrence — hence, the equating with the mythological, much sought after creature — unicorns are becoming more common.

The CEO of an advisory firm in Vancouver coined the term narwhal to refer to such a startup in Canada. The narwhal, sometimes called the sea-unicorn or unicorn fish due to the ivory tusk jutting from its head, can be found in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Russia, and Canada.

The word narwhal comes from the Norwegian or Danish narhval, which comes from Old Norse nāhvalr, where nār means “corpse” — named for the whale’s pale color — and hvalr, “whale.”

variable reward

“With [a slot machine], the longer you’re engaged by variable rewards, the more money you lose. For a tech company in the attention economy, the longer you’re engaged by variable rewards, the more time you spend online, and the more money they make through ad revenue.”

Michael Schulson, “User behaviour,” Aeon, November 24, 2015

A variable reward is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get.

Hence, its appeal. On Facebook, for example, variable rewards might include a cute cat video, a moving news story, or someone’s bragplain post.

The variable reward is the third step in a four-step design model to get online users hooked. Step one is the trigger (whatever catches your attention), step two the action (the act of scrolling or clicking) which leads to the variable reward, and step four is making an investment such as Liking or sharing a post.

Word Buzz Wednesday: cobot, Pastafarian, twilight divorce

The Flying Spaghetti Monster

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, in which we round up our favorite buzzworthy words of the week. The latest: helpful, non-crushing robots; a carbtastic religion; and it’s never too late for divorce.


“Collaborative robots — or cobots — need to be configured so they’re aware of their fleshy colleagues and slow or stop after an unexpected collision to avoid stabbing skin or slicing limbs.”

Stefan Nicola and Olivia Solon, “This German Machine is Hitting People to Make Tomorrow’s Robots Safer,” Bloomberg, November 11, 2015

Unlike regular robots which mostly work autonomously, cobots are designed to help or guide humans, for instance while working in a factory. Researchers at the Fraunhofer IFF Institute in Germany are trying to discover “what needs to be done to ensure robots don’t crush their human colleagues” in the process.

(H/t Edward Bannatt.)


“Western governments are divided on what to call the Islamic extremists claiming responsibility for the attacks in Paris and other atrocities. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently began using the term ‘Daesh,’ adding to the confusion.”

George Petras, “‘Daesh,’ other Islamic State names explained,” USA Today, November 17, 2015

Daesh is a “disputed acronym” of the extremist group more commonly known the Islamic State, ISIS, or ISIL. Daesh might stand for Dawlat al-Islamiyah f’al-Iraq wa al-Sham, which translates as “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,” which is “an area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates River.”

Although the French government began using Daesh in September, the group itself derides the name as “it sounds similar to the Arabic word for ‘sowers of discord,’ which are enemies of Islam.”


“Dubbed ‘McRefugees,’ they sleep in 24-hour branches of the fast food chain, which offer a clean, safe and free refuge found in few other places in the southern Chinese business hub.”

Hong Kong’s McRefugees,” AP, November 12, 2015

McRefugees refer to homeless people who have taken refuge in McDonald’s. AP says the phenomenon goes back to at least 2007, and while it “has also been documented in Japan and mainland China,” it’s especially popular in Hong Kong, where rents are exorbitant.


“[Lindsay] Miller claims she is a Pastafarian, also known as a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

Pastafarian wins right to wear colander in driver’s license photo,” MyFox8, November 14, 2015

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster takes a “light-hearted” view of religion and is against the teaching of creationism in schools.

The term “flying spaghetti monster” was first used in 2005 in an open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education protesting its “decision to permit teaching intelligent design” — that is, nature designed by an intelligent being (such as God) rather than by natural selection and evolution — “as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes.” Pastafarianism is another term for the church, and combines pasta (referring to the spaghetti part of the FSM) and Rastafarian.

Lindsay Miller isn’t the first Pastafarian to win the right to wear the official Church of FSM headgear in a driver’s license photo. That honor belongs to Austrian atheist Niko Alm in 2011. Other notable colander-wearers include a member of the Pomfret, New York Town Council, and former porn actress, Asia Carrera.

twilight divorce

Twilight divorces after 20 years of marriage are at a record in South Korea as the stigma of divorce wears off in a conservative society and court rulings make it financially viable for older women to go it alone.”

It’s never too late: ‘Twilight divorce’ in South Korea at record,” Channel NewsAsia, November 13, 2015

Nope, not a legal split from a sparkly vampire. Twilight divorce refers to the end of marriage for couples in their “twilight” years.

The Language of Origami

Help Japan Brighton University Peace Cranes

Happy Origami Day! Every November 11, origamists around the world celebrate their love for the art of folding paper by, well, folding paper. Whether you’re a beginner who can barely make a paper airplane or an origami master who can create a life-sized elephant from a single sheet of paper, we hope you’ll enjoy this selection of some of our favorite origami words.


Most origami starts with paper (unless of course you’re performing fabrigami). A basic inexpensive kind is kami, which translates from Japanese as “paper.” The -gami of origami is an alteration of kami. Ori, as you might have guessed, means “fold.”

Washi, which translates as “Japanese paper,” is a tough paper used in origami as well as other Japanese arts such as shodo or calligraphy. Elephant hide is a kind of paper that’s made in Germany.


Most origami designs start with a base, and there are lots of different kinds. The diamond, the fish, the dog, the frog. The water balloon, the bird, and the stretched bird.

The blintz is the base that resembles a pancake. To make a blintz base, all four corners of the paper are folded toward the center, and as a result rather resembles the blintz pancake. The word blintz is Yiddish in origin and comes from the Russian blinyets,  a diminutive of blin, “pancake.” Blini is another name for such a pancake.

fudge factor

The fudge factor is “a small gap deliberately left when folding to a crease…to make allowance for the thickness of the paper.”

Fudge has meant “to fit together or adjust in a clumsy, makeshift, or dishonest manner” since the 17th century, says the Oxford English Dictionary, and may be an ironic alteration of fadge, to suit or fit.

minor miracle

The minor miracle is a type of fold in which flaps are pushed to either side, and as a result the front and back of the design are hidden while the sides become the front and back, thus, we’re assuming, performing a minor miracle.


The Yakko-san might be one of the oldest designs in origami. According to Natural History Magazine, the Yakko was a kind of servant or guard who accompanied a daimio, or feudal lord, on excursions, ensuring ahead of time that “the people were properly prepared to greet the lord as he passed by.” The Yakko also seems to be a traditional design for Japanese kites.


Pajarita, Spanish for “little bird,” is a popular origami design in Spain. The word is a diminutive of pajaro, “bird,”and also refers to a bow tie.


These beautiful flower balls are a kind of “modular origami,” that is, origami made by connecting various individual pieces. The word translates from Japanese as “medicine ball” since in the past they were primarily used to hold incense.

In case you were wondering, the American medicine ball, a heavy leather ball used for exercise, is so-called because its inventor equated exercise and physical fitness with medication.


Due to a misreading of characters, the 19th-century Japanese origami instruction book, Kayaragusa, came to be referred to in the West as Kan-no-mado, which means “window on winter” or “window on the coldest season.” The book is known for including instructions on how to fold the notoriously difficult dragonfly.

An instruction book that predates Kan-no-mado is Hiden Senbazuru Orikata, or The Secret to Folding One Thousand Cranes, which purports to teach the folding of a thousand cranes from one sheet of paper. However, these seem to be merely pre-cut sheets connected after folding.


There are no lack of origami societies with interesting names. There’s BOGS, the British Origami Gourmet Society, which apparently practices paper-folding during meals, and Poppadom, which stands for People Out Practising Paperfolding And Dining On Masala, and is part of BOGS.

Our favorite however is the name of Japan’s origami society: Tanteidan, which translates as “detectives,” named for, we’re guessing, their practice of unfolding the mysteries of complex origami designs.

Word Buzz Wednesday: no-maj, Mizzou, undercard

A Knock-Out (Incident of the Ring)

Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, in which we round up our favorite buzzworthy words of the week. The latest: a disappointing magic word; a school nickname; and a boxing word for politics.

future shock

“Jet lag may be ‘future shock’ at its most tangible, but when did it first emerge as an affliction? At what point did people start moving fast enough that it became an issue?”

Joshua Keating, “When Did People Start Moving Fast Enough to Experience Jet Lag?” Slate, November 10, 2015

The term future shock comes from the 1970 book of the same name by futurist Alvin Toffler and his (uncredited) co-author and wife, Heidi Toffler. The Tofflers define future shock as “the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.”

gene drive

“Scientists have known about gene drives for many years. But they never had a good way to use them.”

Rob Stein, “Powerful ‘Gene Drive’ Can Quickly Change An Entire Species,” NPR, November 5, 2015

Gene drive refers to the inheritance of genetic changes made as a result of genetic engineering. In the experiment described by NPR, brown fruit flies genetically engineered to be blonde went on to produce blonde offspring.


“Wolfe’s failure to address racial issues on campus over the past few months prompted students, faculty and lawmakers to call for his ouster. Monday morning, Wolfe acquiesced, saying he was resigning ‘out of love’ for the Mizzou students.”

Mariah Stewart, “Mizzou Students Divided Over President’s Resignation,” The Huffington Post, November 9, 2015

Mizzou, the nickname of the University of Missouri, has been in use since at least 1905. The school is currently facing controversy with their treatment — or lack thereof — of racism on campus. A grad student went on a hunger strike while some football players threw their support behind him by “refusing to practice or play until [university president Tim] Wolfe was shown the door.” Wolfe resigned on Monday.


“J.K. Rowling has revealed that non-magic Americans are called ‘No-maj’ (pronounced ‘no madge’).”

Aramide Tinubu, “We Doubt The American Word For ‘Muggle’ Is Going To Be Added To The Oxford Dictionary Anytime Soon,” Hollywood.com, November 4, 2014

No-maj is the American English equivalent of the (far more interesting) British English muggle, which also refers to an old-timey drinking contest and is slang for a marijuana cigarette.


“Those below the 2.5 percent average in the polls could qualify for the so-called undercard debate, as long as they hit at least 1 percent in at least one of the four most recent national polls.”

Ashley Parker and Nick Corasanti, “Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, in Blow to Their Campaigns, Are Cut From Main Debate Stage,” The New York Times, November 5, 2015

Originating from boxing, undercard refers to a lower-profile event that takes place before the main event. The term came about around 1926, says the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Name Game: Mark Skoultchi of Catchword

We here at Wordnik love talking to professional namers about the naming process. So we were delighted to have the chance to chat with Mark Skoultchi, a partner at Catchword, a full-service naming company founded in 1998.

Mark spoke with us about Catchword’s naming process, some of his favorite (and not so favorite) types of names, and what playing Scrabble can teach you about naming.

What are some of the reasons that bring folks to the naming business, and in particular, Catchword?

Most namers follow a rather circuitous route to the profession, making stops as brand managers, advertisers, linguists, editors, creative writers, and lawyers (not surprising when you consider the importance of intellectual property law to the field of naming).

Regardless of background, almost every namer is a word lover with a passion for branding and an appreciation for how effectively a great name can influence customer loyalty and differentiate a product. In addition, namers enjoy the diversity of responsibilities that the business tends to provide. Certainly naming is a creative exercise, but it’s really so much more than that.

On top of the variety of responsibilities that working in this industry generally provides, folks gravitate toward working at Catchword because, at the risk of sounding immodest, we’re a leader in this business space, and we promote a culture of innovation. In fact, we hold quarterly Innovation Weeks during which we ask and try to answer how we, as a company and an industry, could be evolving and doing things better.

What types of customers and clients do you work with?

We’ve named pretty much everything you can think of, having worked with over 500 clients in all sorts of industries, including Canon, Chipotle, eBay, Fitbit, Intel, and Starbucks.

In general, we tend to service larger, multinational organizations that have broader naming needs, such as naming strategy, architecture, and protocol as well as global linguistic analysis and international trademark counsel. Sure, we come up with cool names for products that span technology, healthcare, F&B [“food and beverage”] and everything in between, but our clients require more than just a cool name. They require strategic guidance and help ensuring names are available and non-offensive in the global markets in which they compete.

Lately, we’ve worked with many more tech and healthcare clients, as those industries are really flourishing. In fact, the naming industry is a pretty useful barometer of which industries are doing well.

Please describe your naming process. Do you usually start with ideas, or do you find your customers often have their own ideas already?

Catchword’s naming process involves both strategic and creative phases. At the outset of an assignment we’re focused on understanding our client, their portfolio of products, the space in which they compete, and how they position themselves in the market. It’s imperative to understand their business and overall branding objectives before beginning any creative work!

Once we have a really solid understanding of their business, we’ll develop a range of strategies and approaches to naming the brand in question, and codify all the information (including messaging, style and tone) in a creative brief for the assignment. At that point, we can begin the actual creative work, which involves the development of literally thousands of names.

Catchword is a strong proponent of quantitative creativity – i.e., the more is more approach. Given the enormous legal, linguistic, and subjective hurdles names must clear, it’s essential to exhaust every creative avenue, and ideate as many names as possible!

Over the course of several name review meetings with our clients, we’ll present a selection of names that map to our strategies, reflect the creative parameters, and have cleared a preliminary trademark screen. Depending on the client, we’ll often conduct either linguistic and cultural screening on preferred names, or customer research to gain further insight to assist with the decision making process.

The goal is to help guide our client toward a shortlist of viable brand name solutions that can advance to a comprehensive trademark evaluation.

How do you use linguistics and psychology in the naming process?

This question is interesting because it demonstrates how the best naming process takes on a multidisciplinary approach.

From the outset of a project, we make sure we know exactly how our client identifies themselves and how their audience perceives them and their products or services. When we really understand the target demographic, we gain insight into what motivates them to make a purchase and the factors that might influence a purchase decision.

For example, if our client’s target demographic is highly educated, sociable young women, we know that we’ll want to focus on names that suggest femininity and fun, but only with a sophisticated and mature tonality. In short, we use psychology to understand what types of names will most resonate with the audience in question.

Our inner linguist comes to the forefront when we perform a linguistics screen near the end of the naming process. We’ll ask respondents in relevant foreign languages to help us determine if name finalists have unforeseen connotations or are difficult to pronounce because of things like consonant clusters or nonnative vowel sounds. If a company is going to release a product in Germany, they want to ensure that it doesn’t sound like the German word for ‘vomit.’ Equally often, though, linguistics screening will uncover unintended positive associations that might make a name an even stronger candidate in that particular region.

In addition to looking at semantic associations of a name in a particular region, we’ll often evaluate the name’s compatibility with a brand’s pre-existing associations as well as the new concept being marketed there.

What are some mistakes you’ve seen companies make in terms of naming?

There are countless mistakes companies make when attempting to name their products, services, or themselves! The most common mistake is underestimating the enormous challenge of legally clearing a name, developing too few ideas, and ending up with no viable name options after comprehensive legal evaluations.

Another mistake is becoming fixated on adopting an obvious real English word for a brand. Certainly real English words are great and oftentimes viable name options for brands, but expecting a name like “Beacon” to be available as a trademark in the financial business space, for instance, is setting yourself up for naming failure.

Another common mistake companies make is to pigeonhole their products and services by adopting names that are appropriate today and even next year, but perhaps not in five years. When naming, it’s critical to plan for the future and try to anticipate shifts in business and product focus. You don’t want to outgrow and have to rename your products just as they’re achieving market success!

What’s one of your favorite naming stories?

In the 17 years since Catchword’s founding we’ve collected countless naming stories. From the time we were invited to Ben & Jerry’s almost magical Vermont office to present wacky and wonderful name ideas for a new ice cream sandwich (“Cookie Wookie” was a big hit), to working with Meg Whitman of eBay to develop a name for an international online classifieds business (i.e., “Craigslist” for the rest of the world), we’ve had our share of fun, funny, exciting, and sometimes weird experiences.

However, the most memorable naming stories are probably the ones that involved the most exceptional outcomes. That is, projects that presented huge challenges and delivered incredible results.

One recent example is Premise Health. Premise Health is a merger of CHI and Take Care, the two largest companies in the onsite healthcare space. The client team included the top executives and boards of both companies as well as the investment firm that was financing the merger. The size and complexity of the project team alone qualified this assignment as unusually challenging. Add to the project team makeup an incredibly saturated set of trademark classes (both healthcare and technology classes, yikes!) and we knew we had our work cut out for us.

Amazingly, we were able to reconcile the varying name preferences among the team members, navigate the choppy legal waters, and guide the group toward not just one name that everyone loved and that was available as a trademark, but SEVEN. That sort of outcome is unusual, even for Catchword!

What are some names that you particularly like?

Naturally, we love so many of the names we’ve developed, from the highly intuitive and descriptive names, to the suggestive, to the more abstract and fanciful. Certainly we adore the assignments that allow us to stretch our creative wings and produce really clever pieces of wordplay, coinings or linguistic manipulations, but we’re no less proud of the more straight ahead names we’ve created that serve as smart business solutions for our clients.

With that in mind, some of the names we’re particularly proud of are Crazy 8 (Gymboree’s children’s clothing store), Dreamery (Dreyer’s ice cream brand), Javiva (Peet’s blended iced beverage), Refreshers (Starbucks’s beverage line), Photoshop Elements (the lighter version of Adobe’s leading image editing software), Upwork (Elance’s freelance platform), Mochidoki (a premium mochi ice cream product), Vudu (a streaming video service), and all the Fitbit fitness trackers we’ve named, including Zip, One, Flex, Force, and Surge.

Are there any naming trends you’d sooner see die off?

The names that try to be so unique that they sacrifice all meaning, ability to be spelled, and memorability are not long for this world. We recognize that many naming trends stem from the challenge that new businesses face of obtaining a domain name and trademark, but there are ways to get around these obstacles that don’t involve using a combination of letters you’d normally exchange in Scrabble.

We make sure to steer our clients clear of naming trends, because a name should allow you to stand out, not show how you’re the same. Nevertheless, there are certain ‘trends’ that are timeless, such as short, real-word nouns (e.g., Nest, Apple, Clover) and smart wordplay. The best names tell a story that is unique to the client’s brand, resonate with audiences and therefore stand the test of time.

Now for the most important question of all: please tell us about your stress reduction specialist, Doogie.

Doogie is our best compensated employee at Catchword, receiving far and away the most hugs. An expert in the “arf” of naming, he often inspires the creative team with his diligent, prolonged meditations on his favorite chair and his dogged pursuit of the UPS man.

Few people know that he is actually an intergalactic superhero from the planet Endor (he misses his Ewok brothers dearly). One day he forgot to switch back to his alter ego before coming to work and we snapped this picture of him still dressed as SuperDoogie.


Want more on naming? Catch up on all the interviews in our Name Game series.

Word Buzz Wednesday: neuropolitics, polyandry, yaoi


Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, in which we round up our favorite buzzworthy words of the week. The latest: politics get creepier; a plurality of husbands; South Park’s, uh, ode to a genre of anime.


“This shift in expectations is the antidote both to the statist vision of the Democratic left and the incoherent policy know-nothingism of some GOP candidates.”

Glenn Hubbard, “It’s Time for Candidates to Get Serious About the Economy,” Politico, November 1, 2015

The know-nothings were a “political party in the United States during the 1850s that was antagonistic toward recent immigrants and Roman Catholics.” The name comes from the fact that, if asked about this secret society, members were supposed to answer,  “I know nothing.” The know-nothings eventually merged with the Republican Party.


“Many political parties and campaigns are loath to talk about their forays into neuropolitics, with many disavowing them or saying they did not believe the research was widely used.”

Kevin Randall, “Neuropolitics, Where Campaigns Try to Read Your Mind,” The New York Times, November 3, 2015

Neuropolitics is the practice of using voter data and insights to tweak political campaigns. It’s a take on neuromarketing, which uses “technologies like facial coding, biofeedback and brain imaging” to push “the boundaries of marketing and product development.”

During his campaign, the current president of Mexico used “tools to measure voters’ brain waves, skin arousal, heart rates and facial expressions.” In Turkey, the prime minster used a neuromarketing company who, based on factors such as brain waves and heart rates, discovered that the official “was not emotionally engaging voters in his speeches.”


“Polyandry has been practiced before in China, particularly in impoverished areas, as a way to pool resources and avoid the breakup of property.”

Didi Kirsten Tatlow, “Not Enough Women in China? Let Men Share a Wife, an Economist Suggests,” The New York Times, October 26, 2015

Polyandry is a “plurality of husbands” — in other words, having more than one husband at a time. The word comes from the Greek polyandria, where poly- means “many” and -andry is from aner, “man, husband.”


“Abe’s ‘womenomics’ policy aims to put more women to work to counter a chronically low birthrate and shrinking workforce, but a business culture in which long hours are routine makes it more difficult for women to get ahead.”

Mari Yamaguchi, “‘Womenomics’ makes small chips in Japan’s glass ceiling,” AP, October 27, 2015

Womenomics, a blend of women and economics, is the idea that gender equality in the workforce will lead to economic growth.


“On Monday, the folks at South Park asked fans to submit ‘romantic’ artwork of Tweek and Craig, as this week’s episode would revolve around Asian Students drawing ‘yaoi’ of the boys.”

Chet Manley, “‘South Park’ Decided To Bring Attention To Yaoi, And The Internet Reacted Accordingly,” Uproxx, October 29, 2015

Also called Boys’ Love, yaoi is a genre of Japanese anime and manga that focuses on romantic relationships between male characters, and is popular among girls and women. The term is apparently a shortening of the Japanese Yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi, “no climax, no point, no meaning,” which seems to refer to the manga’s loose and untraditional narrative structure.

NaNoWriMo Inspiration: Wordnik Words of the Day

Stretch those typing muscles and get out your word counters because it’s that time of year again. That’s right: NaNoWriMo.

In case you didn’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November participants from around the world strive to write at least 50,000 words of a novel (or any book-length work) in 30 days, which by our calculations is about 1,667 words a day. Not a word count to sneeze at.

Wordnik is here to help. Every day for the month of November, we’ll be selecting words of the day from classic novels (such as Villette and Jane Eyre) to spark your imaginations. Not only that, if you use a word of the day in your novel and tweet the sentence to us, you might get selected to appear in our weekly roundup, in which you case you’ll also get stickers!


(For those in the know, think WotD Perfect Tweet Challenge, only NaNoWriMo-ier.)

How might you keep up with all the WotDs? You can follow us on Twitter (which you’ll want to do anyway for all things word-nerdy), like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Words of the Day by email.

Keep your eye out for the first official NaNoWriMo WotD on November 1. Good luck!