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11 Obscure 'J' Words Useful in Words With Friends

Someone recently played "jute" on me with devastating results. I decided I didn't know enough quick, hard-hitting 'J' words. Here are 11 that I just discovered:

1. Jute

A strong, coarse fiber from two East Indian plants often used in making burlap and gunny. Basically, the stuff sacks are made of.

2. Jus

A legal word (from Latin) meaning "a right" or a yummy word meaning juice or gravy, as in "au jus," which is French for "in its own juice"—it's the stuff in which you dip your Quizno's Steakhouse Peppercorn sandy.

3. Jow

As a noun, it's the ringing or tolling of a bell. As a verb, it is to ring or toll a bell or to hit or strike someone, especially on the head. It's a new word for me and one that could have launched Edgar Allan Poe into a more Seussian poetic career with this kid-friendly alternative to "tintinnabulation" (which, by the way, is just an altogether wonderful word).

4. Jarl

A Scandinavian earl.

5. Jaup

Of Scottish, and supposedly onomatopoetic, origin. In its noun form, it means a splash or drop of water. As a verb, to splash or spatter.

6. Jauk

To dawdle. Not thought to be onomatopoetic in origin, although it is incidentally the exact sound that I tend to make when procrastinating. It is, however, of Scottish origin, which once again proves my theory that Words With Friends creators love Scotland almost as much as Germans love David Hasselhoff.

7. Jinn

From Islamic mythology, the class of supernatural beings that, on the spirit hierarchy, is just below angels. The Qu'ran indicates that they are one of the three sentient creatures of Allah (along with angels and humans) and were made of "smokeless fire." They are thought of as the precursor to the "genies" of more modern cultures.

8. Juba

A kind of lively dance that involves rhythmic hand-clapping, stomping, and patting of the arms, legs, chest, and cheeks. Some of the steps in juba dance are called "Blow That Candle Out," "Pigeon Wing," and "The Long Dog Scratch."

9. Jupe

French for "skirt," this word has, over the years, referred to several different articles of clothing: a tunic, usually featuring heraldic arms, typically worn over armor (shortened from "jupon"); a type of skirt; a style of jacket; or baggy pants in what they call "Central European hip-hop fashion"—a style with which I am not at all familiar but surely ought to be. Jupe is accepted in Words With Friends but I'm not certain which fashion statement the game finds most acceptable—I like to think that it's the armor bit because that's what I envision myself wearing when I play.

10. Jabot

A decorative ruffle or other arrangement of lace or cloth starting at the neckline and extending down the front of a shirt or dress. A jabot is, in part, what makes "The Puffy Shirt" puffy.

11. Jawan

A soldier in the Indian army.

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'Froyo,' 'Troll,' and 'Sriracha' Added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
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Looking for the right word to describe the time you spend drinking before heading out to a party, or a faster way to say “frozen yogurt?" Merriam-Webster is here to help. The 189-year-old English vocabulary giant has just added 250 new words and definitions to their online dictionary, including pregame and froyo.

New words come and go quickly, and it’s Merriam-Webster’s job to keep tabs on the terms that have staying power. “As always, the expansion of the dictionary mirrors the expansion of the language, and reaches into all the various cubbies and corners of the lexicon,” they wrote in their announcement.

Froyo is just one of the recent additions to come from the culinary world. Bibimbap, a Korean rice dish; choux pastry, a type of dough; and sriracha, a Thai chili sauce that’s been around for decades but has just recently exploded in the U.S., are now all listed on Merriam-Webster's website.

Of course, the internet was once again a major contributor to this most recent batch of words. Some new terms, like ransomware (“malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom to access encrypted files”) come from the tech world, while words like troll ("to harass, criticize, or antagonize [someone] especially by provocatively disparaging or mocking public statements, postings, or acts”) were born on social media. Then there’s the Internet of Things, a concept that shifts the web off our phones and computers and into our appliances.

Hive mind, dog whistle, and working memory are just a few of the new entries to receive the Merriam-Webster stamp of approval. To learn more about how some words make it into the dictionary while others get left out, check these behind-the-scenes secrets of dictionary editors.

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How New Words Become Mainstream
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If you used the words jeggings, muggle, or binge-watch in a sentence 30 years ago, you would have likely been met with stares of confusion. But today these words are common enough to hold spots in the Oxford English Dictionary. Such lingo is a sign that English, as well as any other modern language, is constantly evolving. But the path a word takes to enter the general lexicon isn’t always a straightforward one.

In the video below, TED-Ed lays out how some new words become part of our everyday speech while others fade into obscurity. Some words used by English speakers are borrowed from other languages, like mosquito (Spanish), avatar (Sanskrit), and prairie (French). Other “new” words are actually old ones that have developed different meanings over time. Nice, for example, used to only mean silly, foolish, or ignorant, and meat was used as blanket term to describe any solid food given to livestock.

The internet alone is responsible for a whole new section of our vocabulary, but even the words most exclusive to the web aren’t always original. For instance, the word meme was first used by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.

To learn more about the true origins of the words we use on a regular basis, check out the full story from TED-Ed below.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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