Today’s post is brought to you by the letter U. U stands for unit, ukulele, ugly, and universe. I’m not speaking to that last one at the moment. If the universe were a significant other, it’d be sleeping on the couch.
Shall we begin?
Uakari – a New World monkey with a short tail. This little guy lives in the Amazon Basin.
Ubiquitous – a state of being in which a thing exists everywhere all the time or is very common.
Hamish noted the ubiquitous presence of idiots on the internet, as evidenced by their constant trolling.
Ubiety (yoo-BUY-i-tee) – a condition in which you are in a particular location. From the Latin ubi (where). I cannot think of a reason why I would use this word with any regularity.
Udo (OOH-doe) – Japanese word for the Aralia cordata plant also known as “Sun King” or mountain asparagus (parts are edible). Native to Japan, Korea, and eastern China. Grown in Western countries as an ornamental perennial.
Udder – you know what this is. Do I really have to tell you?
Ufology – the study of UFOs, or unidentified flying objects (flying saucers). Widely regarded as a pseudoscience.
Ugsome, Scotland, Northern UK – loathsome, ugly, disgusting, or offensive. (Dear Scottish friends–is this even a thing? If so, I love it.)
Uhlan, German – a light cavalry unit armed with lances and sabers, first seen in Polish armies (in Polish, ulan). Might be an interesting subject for historical fiction. I put in a link to the word on Wikipedia because they’re kind of fascinating.
Uintaite (yoo-IN-tuh-ite) – No, really. A very pure asphalt mined in the Uinta Mountains of Utah and used to harden soft petroleum products.
UK – abbreviation for United Kingdom. The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. You do not need to write it with a period (full stop in British English) after each letter.
Ukase (yoo-KASE), Russian – an edict by the czar or autocratic government that held force of law.
Ultima – the last syllable of a word. Or a Final Fantasy spell.
Ululate – to howl shrilly or produce a trilling sort of wail.
Here’s a ululation:
Here’s another one (this used to scare the shit out of me as a little kid):
Umlaut (OOM-lowt), German – those two dots placed over a letter; shows altered pronunciation. In German a, o, and u may have the umlaut:
- ä becomes eehhh.
- ö sounds like uhhr.
- To pronounce the ü with an umlaut, you purse your lips into a tight O and say oo.
“Yes, mein Führer,” said the commandant.
(Note: I’m using this example because everybody knows how to pronounce this.)
Umbrage – offense, displeasure. To take umbrage is to become offended by something.
Unbosom – No, this does not mean to let your girls out of their cage. It means to disclose or unburden yourself of thoughts and feelings in confidence, such as during a weepy post-breakup sesh with your BFF.
Ungoliant – a being in the Tolkien universe in the shape of a great spider (arggh!). Mother of Shelob, who tried to eat Frodo and was thwarted by Samwise after Gollum took him up the steps of Cirith Ungol in The Return of the King.
If you understood that last sentence, you are awarded one nerd point. If you did not, shame on you; at least watch the Lord of the Rings films.
Upbraid – to reproach someone; tell them off severely.
Giles upbraided Buffy for going into the vampires’ nest alone and without Mr. Pointy.
Upwind – where you want to be standing when someone farts.
Urticaria – a rash caused by an allergic reaction; what you get when you touch poison ivy, oak, or sumac.
Ursine – of, like, or pertaining to bears.
Usurp (yoo-SURP) – to seize by force, take without a right to do so.
“Well, that’s unfortunate,” the Doctor said. “Apparently, on this planet, landing the TARDIS directly on the throne is interpreted as an attempt to usurp it.”
Usury – the practice of lending money at batshit crazy interest rates (illegal and unethical).
Utopia – an ideal society, one that is nearly perfect. Think Federation planets such as Earth in Star Trek: The Next Generation, upon which poverty, hunger, and war had been eliminated.
Utilize – a fancy way to say use. Which I hate. HATE HATE HATE THIS WORD. Mark Twain, a fierce proponent of plain language, is supposed to have said, “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.”
Uvula (yoov-yoo-lah) – also known as the hangy ball! It’s that little thing that hangs down in the back of your throat. Nobody is quite sure just exactly what the uvula does. I couldn’t find a picture of one that wasn’t gross, so here is a picture of a kitten in a sweater instead.
That’s all we have time for today, boys and girls. I must go read some tomes I got from the library that pertain to Secret Book. Or eat something; I just realized I forgot to do that. See you next time.