Loretta Barnard

Introducing the TBS Vocab-Extender

Is your lexicon feeling a little … limited? Well, fear not, for the TBS Vocab-Extender will extend your vocabulary without judgement or upturned nose.


Is bae tired of you using the same old words? Feeling terminologically limp? Want to pretty up your parlance? Put a bit of oomph into your argot? Presenting the TBS Vocab-Extender, where we assist you with lengthening your lexicon. [And who doesn’t want a lengthened lexicon!? —Ed.]

Here are today’s morsels of mirth:


You know that feeling when you’re cold or maybe excited or when something spooky happens and the hairs on your arm stand on end? Yes, goose bumps—that’s what we’re talking about. Other terms for the phenomenon are goose flesh, goose pimples, or goose skin, but we’re going for something more erudite.

Medical people refer to the condition as “piloerection”—which means the erection of the hair caused by contraction of the arrectores pilorum muscles—but why be so technical?

I prefer another word, one you can roll round in your mouth, a word that makes you sound a bit more highbrow than the hoi polloi. Okay, so it’s the height of affectation, but so what? It’s a great word—horripilation.

“When Harriet Hudson happened on the hairy homunculus, her heart heaved and she horripilated horribly.”

“When I look at that finely-toned physique, oooh, the horripilation.”

“The evening breeze caused a wave of horripilation across Briony’s exposed skin.”



This word probably takes longer to say than to put into action. It simply means the leave abruptly or to beat a hasty retreat. Other words or phrases that mean the same thing include “skedaddle,” “vamoose,” “get the hell out of here,” but “absquatulate” has a certain elegant ring to it. Pretentious? Of course. Fun? Yes, indeedy.

“Stanley knew he’d be in trouble with his boss, but he had to absquatulate if he was to get to his long-awaited date with Beatrice.”

“After just one glass of wine, Beatrice determined that Stanley wasn’t the man for her, so the sooner she absquatulated the better.”

“She absquatulated?” remarked Tristan mildly. “How upsetting for you, old chap.”



When people go to the beach and do a bit of sunbathing, they’re often lying ventricumbently. It’s almost the same position you’re in if you’re having a massage. Babies often sleep this way. Lying on your front or stomach is pretty common, but so is the expression “lying on your front or stomach.” We’re all for overblown words. Nothing gets up people’s noses like a bit of word wankery.

“Martin was ventricumbent, all the better to observe the ants’ journey from the spilled jam to their nest.”

“Ventricumbent under the viburnum, Virginia was reading verses by Valéry.”

“Oh, do stop lying ventricumbently, Martin,” cried Virginia. “If you lie dorsicumbent, you can at least enjoy the sunshine.”

Expanding your vocabulary—a self-improvement technique that is strictly about dem gains, you’ll be taking photos of yourself in the library to mark your progress in no time!

Saying that, if you would like to donate a morsel of your mellifluous lexicon, feel free to share with the meaning in the comment section below.

More words coming soon …



Loretta Barnard

Loretta Barnard is an Australian freelance writer and editor who, in a long career, has done almost everything possible in the book publishing industry. These days she actively pursues her love of music, literature and theatre, and is something of wannabe roving ambassador for the creative and performing arts.

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