Wordspotting #5

The first three words come from the novel Woman in the Window by A.J Finn. I forget where I read the last one… it just seemed very appropriate to the political climate at the time I found it in December 2020.

New to Wordspotting?

I’m sure someone (if not several) people have told you in your life that the more you read, the better your vocabulary gets. My problem is that I have a horrible memory. If I’m reading a book or blog post and come across a word I love, if I don’t write it down immediately, it’s gone. So in an effort to remember and use new-to-me words that strike my fancy, I’ve been jotting them down as I discover (and in some cases rediscover) them and then sharing them in an ongoing series I call Wordspotting. If you missed the first four installments, you can check them out here. Definitions via Google Dictionary unless otherwise noted.




  1. a ghost or ghostlike image of someone, especially one seen shortly before or after their death.
  • used in reference to a pale, thin, or insubstantial person or thing: “heart attacks had reduced his mother to a wraith”
  • LITERARY – a wisp or faint trace of something: “a sea breeze was sending a gray wraith of smoke up the slopes”


/ˌmēz ˌän ˈsen/


  1. the arrangement of scenery and stage properties in a play.
    • the setting or surroundings of an event or action.

terra cognita

Latin “unknown land”; incognita is stressed on its second syllable in Latin, but with variation in pronunciation in English) is a term used in cartography for regions that have not been mapped or documented. The expression is believed to be first seen in Ptolemy‘s Geography c. 150. The term was reintroduced in the 15th century from the rediscovery of Ptolemy’s work during the Age of Discovery. The equivalent on French maps would be terres inconnues (plural form), and some English maps may show Parts Unknown. (New York Public Library via Wikipedia)




  1. of or typical of a despot; tyrannical.

“Trump’s despotic rule incorporates populism, authoritarianism, nationalism, a vicious racism, and Islamophobia, but does he have any real understanding of these concepts?” (via scotsman.com

What are some of your favorite word discoveries?


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