5 Intriguing Words

Don't know how long this lil' guy's 양다리 game will last, but adorable moment! (Photo: Furman S. Baldwin's "The Kiss")
Don’t know how long this lil’ guy’s 양다리 game will last, but adorable moment! (Photo: Furman S. Baldwin’s “The Kiss“)

…from the last several weeks. (So these vocabulary installments may contain more and more English words, since my real job involves writing…in English…which really means thesaurus.com all day and new tab > “define: xx” — youknowwhatimean?) Anyway:

  • frowzy | EN | scruffy and neglected in appearance; unkempt, messy, disheveled, etc. — Forgot where I saw this, but I love it because it’s one of those words that sound/feel exactly like what they mean. 
  • funambulism | EN | the art of tightrope walking (walking along a thin wire or rope, usually at a great height); see Nik Wallenda’s recent record-setting stunts in Chicago—who knew there was a dedicated word for this!? 
  • pied-à-terre | EN via FR | a temporary or second home; literally foot to the ground in French—got familiarized with this term after reading a bunch of articles on rich people scooping up (a lot of) (prime) NYC real estate. 
  • 山寨, shān zhài | CN | a term (Wikipedia entry here) that essentially means imitation, and particularly refers to the pervasive knock-off industry in China, i.e. “that’s a 山寨/shānzhài cell phone”; literally “mountain fortress” (something to do with the sense that fake goods are getting built/stockpiled in factories in villages far away from official control)—my dad mentioned this word in a conversation recently…he defined it as “Made in China”, which sounds pretty sad. But I’ve also read  quite a few arguments for how shān zhài is highly efficient and also innovative (!). 
  • 양다리, yang dari | KR | literally “both legs”, typically used to mean two-timing/dating two people at the same time; 양다리를 걸치다 means “to try to have it both ways”.
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