1.  A piece of work that is supplementary to or a byproduct of a larger work.

2. Something that is an accessory to a main work or subject; embellishment.

3. Work undertaken in addition to one’s principal work.”
Read as: deadly distraction. Life-threatening. MENACE.
Read also as: side-job, paramour, passion project, sidechick.
(also might get you a paying job in the real world)
Plural (Parerga) are all the exciting and fascinating things, like so many sirens, beckon you off the course of your dissertation, singing so sweetly their meretricious songs, dynamically tuned to your tastes and weaknesses, urging you to smash your dissertation-ship on their rocks.
par (variant of para- as in “parallel”; = to the side) + ergos (“work”). 1595-1605.


A notably difficult to pronounce word.



autological (adj.)

From German autologisch, from Ancient Greek αὐτός (autós, “self”) + λόγος (lógos, “word”).

An autological word (also called homological word or autonym) is a word that expresses a property that it also possesses (e.g. the word “short” is short, “noun” is a noun, “English” is English, “pentasyllabic” has five syllables, “word” is a word). The opposite is a heterological word, one that does not apply to itself (e.g. “long” is not long, “monosyllabic” has five syllables, “German” is not a German word). The world “neologism” was once autological, but now that it is no longer a new word, it is no longer autological.

The opposite of an autological word is a heterological word.  Whether or not “heterological” is in fact a heterological word or an autological word is a paradox.

paradigm (n)

Very commonly “paradigm shift” or “paradigmatically.”

The OED provides us many definitions, for example:

“A conceptual or methodological model underlying the theories and practices of a science or discipline at a particular time; (hence) a generally accepted world view.”


“paradigm shift n. a conceptual or methodological change in the theory or practice of a particular science or discipline; (in extended sense) a major change in technology, outlook, etc.”

which are more or less reflective of the many pretentious and obfuscating ways this word has been employed in academic writing, but for almost all purpose, one should best understand this word as a fancy synonym for



Gk. eu – good;  cata – down, back, against; strophe – a twisting, or turning; catastrophe, “an overturning.”

As opposed to the regular catastrophes, a eucatastrophe is “the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with joy and brings tears.” An unexpected, happy ending.

Related: serendipity; deus ex machina, peripeteia.

This neologism was invented by J.R.R. Tolkein.

adynaton (n)

A figure of speech related to hyperbole that emphasizes the inexpressibility of some thing, idea, or feeling either by stating that words cannot describe it, or by comparing it with something (e.g., the heavens, the oceans) the dimensions of which cannot be grasped.  Loosely related to the idea of the mathematical sublime. Examples abound — I can’t even begin to list just how often this type of hyperbolic rhetoric is thrown around.

Related: infandum, “the inexpressible,” which I’ll add an entry for later.

Also related: aposiopesis, also deserves an entry.

Somewhat related: paralepsis, apophasis, praeteritio/preterition, cataphasis (κατάφασις), antiphrasis (ἀντίφρασις), or parasiopesis (παρασιώπησις).

Citation: Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms.

cosmogony (n)

cosmogonic (adj), cosmogonies (pl)

gk. cosmos (beauty) + gonos (creation).

The study of the origin and development of the universe or of a particular system in the universe, such as the solar system.

Related: anthropogony.

Came across this in Mircea Eliade’s The Myth of Eternal Return, or Cosmos and History.

mellalgia (n)

mellalgic (adj)

The opposite of nostalgia, mellalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the future, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Ety. Greek: μέλλο: “future” + ἄλγος: “pain.”

Inspired by the late Svetlana Boym’s wonderful book, The Future of Nostalgia. Mellalgia is the topic of Proust’s unfinished book, Remembrance of Things to Come. C. J. Cherryh experiments with the idea of mellalgia in her short story, “The Threads of Time,” in which she describes her time traveling protagonist experiencing such a feeling:

He lived scattered lives in ages to come, and remembered the future with increasing melancholy.

I totally made this word up in the name of academese.