in Wacky Word Wednesday

American booklovers seem to be a vanishing breed, with a 2014 Pew research study finding that 23% of the country hadn’t read a book in the past year. Still, there are those who read voraciously, wolfing down more than 11 books a year. These are folks whose passion for reading far surpasses that of the average Joe, and we’re celebrating them with this week’s Wacky Word Wednesday: epeolatry.

quo topEpeolatry

 

[ep-i-OL-uh-tree]

-noun

The worship of words.

quo botEpeolatry

Epeolatry comes, as so many of our great words do, from Greek. The prefix comes from epos, which means “words” while the suffix comes from latreia, meaning worship. We can find the same prefix at the root of the word “epic” (as in epic poetry) and the same suffix at the end of “idolatry,” the worship of idols. But unlike the words “epic” and “idolatry,” epeolatry is a comparatively recent addition to the English language.

The first known citation of epeolatry comes from the book Professor at the Breakfast Table, written by Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1860:

“Time, time only, can gradually wean us from our epeolatry, or word-worship, by spiritualizing our ideas of the thing signified.”

The word has not yet gained popularity but has experienced a recent resurgence in the blogosphere. We at Simply CSOFT hope epeolatry comes into everyday usage so we can more accurately describe ourselves at dinner parties. As usual, we’ve prepared a few example sentences for you all.

  • “I read my dictionary for a few more minutes, until tiredness eventually brought my epeolatry to an end for the day.” – Roger Day, Anuranda Negotiates Our Wobbly Planet
  • “Her epeolatry led her to read books on the most esoteric subjects filled with the strange vocabularies.”

We sincerely hope this has stoked the fire of your passion for words, turned you into a regular epeolator, and that you’ll join us next week for another Wacky Word Wednesday!

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