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haberdasher – (formerly, a dealer in odds and ends)
1. UK: a dealer in dressmaking and sewing goods 2. US: a dealer in men’s clothing

hαček – the inverted caret above consonant, as in č ň š; also called a caron

hackneyed – stale and trite; used so frequently and indiscriminately that it has lost its freshness and become commonplace

hadal (as in "Hades") – of ocean depths below 6000 meters

haggis – Scottish: a dish made by boiling sheep's viscera with onions, oatmeal etc. in the sheep's stomach

hagiography – a biography of saints; hence: a worshipful or idealizing biography

hagira – an exodus or departure

Hail Mary pass – from US football: a desperate, last-minute attempt to save a losing situation

haku – a crown made of fresh flowers

halakah – the body of Jewish law supplementing scriptures

halcyon – calm; quiet; peaceful; undisturbed; happy (often used in the phrase halcyon days). Traces back to beliefs of the ancient Greeks about the kingfisher bird, halkyo.

halibut (etymology) – literally "holy fish"; eaten on holy days

halitosis – coinage: bad breath

hallux – the big toe (adj. hallucal – of or pertaining to the big toe

hamster wheel – a small treadwheel on which a hamster can run endlessly to get exercise; also fig., connoting pointless activity

hands down – easy; easily

handsel – a gift as a token of good luck, such as one upon a graduation, new year, wedding or opening-of-business. Also, the first money taken in at a shop.

hansom – a two-wheeled horse-drawn cab, with the driver seated behind

haole – from Hawaiian; sometimes disparaging: a white person

hapax – a word that occurs only once in the written body of a language. (short for hapax legomenon; pl. hapax legomena) See inkhorn

hapax legomenon – a word that occurs only once in the recorded corpus of a given language, a literature, or an author

haphephobia – fear of being touched

haplography – a copyist's unintentional writing of letter(s) or word(s) once, when they should be repeated

hardscrabble – earning a bare or meager living with great labor or difficulty

harlequin – eponym: a clown-like pattern of brightly diamond shapes; or, of many colors

harmattan – a very dry, dusty winter wind, blowing from the Sahara over the west African coast

harp – the metal bar running above and alongside over the bulb of a lamp, to hold the lampshade

harpy – 1. a grasping, unscrupulous woman 2. a shrewish woman

harridan (also here) – a bossy or belligerent woman, scolding and vicious; typically an old one

hart – a male red deer (not a fallow dear, which is a buck)

haruspex – a priest in ancient Rome who practiced divination by the inspection of the entrails of animal

hassock – originally: a compact tuft especially of grass or sedge (also known as a tussock); later: a cushion for kneeling, esp. at church; later: a padded cushion or low stool that serves as a seat or leg rest

hat trick – three goals or other major achievement by player in a sport; hence occasionally, a threefold feat in other activities [originally from cricket; common in football (soccer) and in ice hockey]

haulm – a stalk or stem (particularly, those of peas, beans, or potatoes collectively)

Haussmannize – eponym: to open out, widen, and straighten streets, and generally rebuild, after the fashion in which Haussmann rebuilt Paris

havelock – eponym: a covering on a cap to protect the back of the neck

haver – 1. Scottish: to talk foolishly; babble. 2. British: to act in an indecisive manner.

haversack – a small, stout bag carried on the back or over the shoulder

haw – interjection and noun: an utterance marking hesitation

hawk (as a verb, to hawk) – to clear the throat noisily (to hawk up – to bring (phlegm) up from the throat)

Hawthorne effect – production increased not as a consequence of actual changes in working conditions introduced by the plant's management, but because management demonstrated interest in such improvements

haysel – haymaking season.

heat island – an urban area where the temperature is consistently higher than in the surrounding region

hebamic – see maieutic

hebdomadal – weekly; occurring every seven days

hebetic – occurring at puberty (not to be confused with hebetude)

hebetude – mental dullness; lethargy (adj: hebetudinous; hebate. verb: hebetate – to stupefy; to make dull) (not to be confused with hebetic)

hector – eponym: to intimidate by blustering; to behave like a bully, swagger

hegemony (also here) – [accent on either 1st or 2nd syllable] preponderant influence or authority; leadership; domination (usu. applied to such domination of a state over its neighbors or allies)

heiligenschein – [German for "holy light] a white halo of diffuse brightness surrounding the shadow of an object, often a person's head

Heilsgeschichte – sacred history, spec. the history of God's saving work among men; history seen as the working out of God's salvation

heisenbug – computer programming (software): a software bug that disappears or behaves differently when you try to examine or fix it. For example, the use of a debugger sometimes alters a program's operating environment significantly, and thus change the bug's behavior. (contrast Bohr bug, mandelbug, schroedinbug)

helminthology – the study of worms, especially intestinal worms

helpmate (etymology) – see link

hem – interjection: a slight half-cough to get attention, warn, or express doubt or hesitation (also [noun and verb]: the sound itself; to make this sound)

hem and haw (alternate forms are ~ and hawk; ~ and ha; and hum and ~) –
1. to make an inarticulate murmur in a pause of speaking, from hesitation, embarrassment, etc.
to repeatedly pause or digress in order to evade saying something directly; or, to repeatedly delay and discuss to avoid acting

hemisemidemiquaver – see quaver

hemocyanin – a bluish, copper-containing protein with an oxygen-carrying function similar to that of hemoglobin

herculean – eponym: of extraordinary power, size, or difficulty

heretic (etymology) – ult. from Gk. hairetikos "able to choose." At least one source says it originally referred to early Christians who, when the Gospels were first compiled, chose not to abandon other accounts of Jesus.

hermaphrodite – eponym: a plant or animal having both male and female reproductive organs naturally [e.g., earthworm] or by anomaly [e.g., human]; generalized, something that is a combination of disparate or contradictory elements.

hermetic – eponym: recondite. Also: [from belief he invented a magic seal] airtight, or impervious to external influence

herpetologist – a zoologist who deals with reptiles and amphibians

hesternal – pertaining to yesterday

heterodyne – to combine (radio waves) to produce a new frequency equal to the sum or difference of the two

heterological – (of a word) self non-descriptive; e.g., 'long' is not a long word. (contrast autological)

heteronym – words with the same spelling as another but different sound and meaning (e.g., august/August; to bow low vs. a bow tie). [compare homonym, homograph]

heyday – the period of one’s greatest success, activity, or vigor. [alteration of heyda, exclamation of playfulness or surprise, (like hurrah), apparently an extended form of interjection hey]

hibernal – characteristic of or relating to winter

higgledy-piggledy – in utter disorder or confusion

high jinks – boisterous fun

hight – named; called

hind – a female red deer (not a female fallow deer, which is a doe)

hinny – cross between a stallion and a jenny-ass (contrast mule: the cross between a jackass [male] and a mare [female])

hippodrome – an arena for horse shows. (slang: a fraudulent contest with a predetermined winner)

hippopotamus (etymology) – from Greek for "horse of the river"

hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian – extremely sesquipedalian (q.v.)

hiragana – a set of symbols used in writing Japanese

hircine – smelling like a goat

hirrient – of a sound: heavily trilling

hirsute – covered with abundant hair

historiography – the study of writings and interpretations of history.

histrionic (also here) – theatrical in style; 'stagey'; hence histrionics – exaggerated emotional behavior calculated for manipulative effect

hite – see squeans

hoar – 1. adj.: grey or grey-haired, as with age 2. noun: hoarfrost (see below)

hoarfrost (or hoar frost) – a grayish-white feathery or fernlike deposit of frost

hoary – 1. hoar (sense 1; adjective); grey 2. extremely old, and trite

hobbledehoy – a gawky adolescent boy

Hobson's choice – an apparently free choice which is really not free, because when there is no real alternative

hodag – a mythical beast given to weeping because of its extreme ugliness

hodgepodge (N. Amer.) or hotchpotch – a confused mixture

hogback – a long steep hill or mountain ridge

Hogmanay – Scotland's New Year's Eve celebration [filled with alcohol, violence and fireworks; accent on last syllable]

hoi polloi – the common people generally; the masses

holey dollar – a donut-shaped coin, created in Colonial Australia by punching out the middle of a spanish dollar coin; the punched-out middle piece was called the dump (see coins and currency)

homily – 1. a talk on a religious subject, meant to be inspirational rather than giving doctrinal instruction 2. a tedious moralizing talk

hominid – modern man, or any other member (now extinct) of the biological family hominidae. Hominids descend from the last common ancestor of man and modern apes

homograph – word with same spelling as another but with distinct meaning and history (pine tree; to pine for) [compare homonym, heteronym]

homonym – word with the same sound (regardless of spelling) as another but with different meanings [compare heteronym, homograph]

homophone – word with same sound as another but with different meaning, origin and sometimes spelling

homorganic – used to describe speech sounds that are formed at the same point in the vocal tract. Examples are the bilabials "p," "b," "m," and "w," which are all formed using both lips pushed together.

honeytoken – computer security: a database entry that has no one has any proper reason to use or access. Hence, any usage signals improper use of the database.

honorificabilitudinitatibus – honorableness

hontish – dialect: haughty

hooch; hoochinoo – eponym: alcoholic liquor, especially inferior or bootleg liquor

hoodwink – to take in by deceptive means; deceive.

hooroo – Australian slang: goodbye, see you later

hoover – eponym; British: to clean with a vacuum cleaner

Hooverville – eponym: a shantytown of temporary homes [Areas like this, thrown up at the start of the Great Depression, were sardonically named after then-president Herbert Hoover]

Horatio Alger – eponym: noun; adj.: about achieving success through self-reliance and hard work

hork – slang: to gulp down hurriedly; to "snarf"

hormesis – an effect where a toxic substance acts like a stimulant in small doses, but it is an inhibitor in large doses.

hornswoggle – to bamboozle; deceive

horripilation – bristling of the body hair; goose-bumps. [horripilate – to get goose bumps]

horsmandering – eponym: the act of a public official writing a books about his/her experience in office
[Query whether this is validly a “word”. From the name of an 18th-century American judge who was one of the first public servants to use his records of a public experience as the basis of a full-length book]

horst – a block similar to a grabben (which see), but raised [German 'heap']

hosanna; hosannah (interj.) – used to express praise or adoration to God

hoser – Canadian slang: a clumsy, boorish person, esp. an uncouth, beer-drinking man

hospitalist – a doctor who treats patients only in the hospital

hostler; ostler – one who tends horses, especially at an inn

hot dog – (etymology) By the 1890's this food was popular in New York and called "Dachshund sausage".  By the story I favor, a syndicated cartoonist sketched a cartoon of a dachshund smeared with mustard, in a bun. But since he could not spell dachshund, he captioned the picture "Get your hot dogs!"

hot stove league – informal speculation among devotees of a sport or other narrow activity, during the activity's off-season, of what the future holds

hotspur – eponym: a hot-headed, impetuous man

howff – a place of resort; a refuge, a haunt

hoyden – a boisterous or saucy girl

Hoyle – eponym: ‘according to Hoyle” = per the prescribed rules

hubris – overbearing pride or presumption

hue (as in hue and cry) – outcry, shouting, clamor, esp. one raised by a multitude in war or the chase

hugger-mugger – 1. secrecy; concealment (adj.: clandestine) 2. disorderly confusion; muddle (adj.: disorderly; jumbled). Some sources emphasize one aspect, some the other.

hummer – a firework device that produces a humming sound. It is usually a sealed tube and pierced near each end on opposite sides, so that the sound is made as the device spins rapidly in flight

humuhumunukunukuapuaa – a small trigger fish; the state fish of Hawaii

hunky-dory – slang or informal: perfectly satisfactory; fine. Wordcrafter note: This would refer to a situation, not a thing. Thus you might say, "Nobody's angry; everything's hunky-dory," but not, "This portrait is a hunky-dory likeness."

hurple – [the only word that rhymes with 'purple'] to draw the limbs closely together, esp. with pain or cold; to cower, crouch, squat; to shrink, shudder

hushion – Scots dialect: a footless stocking (a sort of leg-warmer).

huswife – same as etui: a small case, usually ornamental, for small articles such as needles, toothpicks, etc. [ related to modern housewife]

huttoning – eponym: forcible manipulation of a dislocated, stiff, or painful joint

hyacinth – eponym: a type of flower

hydromancy – divination by water [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

hydrophobia – fear of water

hydrophobic – not mixing with water: hydrophobic oil droplets in the air. an unfamiliar meaning of a somewhat familiar word

hyperbola – a certain curve, opening more widely than a parabola. hyperbole (rhetoric) – extravagant exaggeration (This book weighs a ton.)

hypercorrection – a language misuse (spelling, pronunciation, grammar) made by analogy to a form that is thought to be “better speaking”

hypergamy – the tendency for women to marry "up"

hypergolic – igniting or exploding spontaneously (without external spark) when the components come into contact [said esp. of rocket fuel]

hypochondria – see Munchausen syndrome

hypocorism – a pet name (esp. one with a dimin. suffix);  the use of pet names

hyrax – one of a group of small mammals, herbivores somewhat like woodchucks. Also called coney, dassie

iambic foot (iamb) – the poetry rhythm duh-DUH. Common in Shakespeare. Example: but, SOFT! / what LIGHT / through YON/der WIN/dow BREAKS?
trochaic foot (trochee) – DUH-duh. Example: LET her / LIVE to / EARN her / DINner /
dactylic foot (dactyl) – DUH-duh-duh. Example: AL-ice in / WON-der-land /
anapestic foot (anapest) – duh-duh-DUH. Example: the asSYR/ian came DOWN / like a WOLF / on the FOLD. vigorous, galloping; often in poems about horses or war

Icarian – eponym: soaring too high for safety; applying to ambitious or presumptuous acts which end in failure or ruin

Icarusian  – eponym: flying too high to be sustained [Not a valid “word”, according to OED. see Icarian]

iconic – of an icon; that is, of a pictorial representation

iconoclast – who attacks popular beliefs or institutions

icthyomancy – divination by fishes [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

idιe fixe – an idea that dominates one's mind; an obsession

idiot (old meaning) a private person, not holding public office.  also (under a discredited, offense classification:) one incapable of connected speech or of avoiding the common dangers; needs constant attendance. imbecile – can attend to simple wants, avoid ordinary dangers. moron –  can learn a simple trade but requires constant supervision

idiot savant (also here) – a mentally handicapped person who displays brilliance in a specific area, especially one involving memory [French, 'knowledgeable idiot']

idlepated – idle-headed; stupid

idolomancy – divination by idols, images, and figures [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

if-by-whiskey speech – southern US regionalism: a speech coming down emphatically on both sides on an issue

iff – if and only if

ignoramus – eponym: an utterly ignorant person; a dunce (some sources add the concept of posturing: "a vain pretender to knowledge") [from the title role of George Ruggle's 1615 play satirizing the ignorance of common lawyers.]

ilk – sort, kind. also of that ilk – the estate name being the same as the family surname

illegal combatant (or unlawful combatant) – a combatant who, if captured, would not meet the standards of a prisoner of war [precise meaning is much misunderstood in dictionaries and the press]

illuminate – to add embellishments and paintings (to medieval manuscripts)

illuminati – people claiming to possess special enlightenment or knowledge.

ilunga (foreign) – a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time; to tolerate it a second time; but never a third time. [from Tshiluba, a Bantu language spoken in south-eastern Congo and in Zaire]

imaginist – one who lives in a world created by his or her active imagination

imbecile – see idiot

imbricate – see tunic

imbue – to inspire or influence thoroughly; pervade (also, to stain or dye deeply)

imbulbiate – to defecate in one's pants

immaculate – 1. perfectly clean, neat, or tidy 2. free from flaw or mistake 3. pure; unstained; without sin]

immerd – to cover with excrement

immobilism – extreme political resistance to change

immure – to entomb in a wall, or to similarly confine or imprison [from Latin murus ‘wall’]

imparlibidinous – pertaining to inequality of desire between two people

impasto – laying on paint thickly so that it stands out from a surface

impignorate – to mortgage, pledge or pawn (also adjective)

importunate (also here) – pesteringly urgent and overly pressing in request (as a pushy beggar) [importune – to harass with persistent requests (also; to offer one’s services as a prostitute)]

imprimatur – official approval; sanction

in camera – 1. in secret; privately 2. law: in private with a judge rather than in open court

in extremis – at the point of death

in flagrante delicto – caught red-handed, in the act of committing a misdeed. (also, caught in the midst of sex). Latin for "while the crime is blazing". Frequently applied to embarrassing but non-criminal situations.

inamorata; inamorato (fem. & masc.) – the one with whom one is in love or in an intimate relationship

incarnadine – 1. fleshy pink color 2. blood-red. (An odd word, with two inconsistent meanings. Apparently Shakespeare incorrectly used it [in Macbeth] to mean blood-red, and the usage caught on.)

incarnate – in the flesh; in human form; also, to realize in action or fact; as actualize; community that incarnates its founders' ideals

incommensurable – without a common measure on which to compare; "like apples and oranges" (different concept from with commensal, commensurate)

incubus – 1. an evil spirit supposed who has sex with women as they sleep. (see succubus) 2. a nightmare; an oppressive or nightmarish burden.

incumbent – lying upon something else: incumbent rock strata

incunabula books printed before 1501; also, the very earlier products of any art

incus – the flattened, anvil-shaped top of a thundercloud (also, a certain bone within the ear) [pl. incudes. From L. for 'anvil']

indict – to accuse of a crime or other offense (see indite)

indite – to write down; describe (see indict)

indri [bizarre etymology] – the largest of the lemurs; severely endangered. [native phrase meaning "There it is!"; misunderstood by explorer]

induction (also here) – logic: inferring a general law or principle from the particular instances observed (contrast deduction – reasoning from generalities to particulars) (several further definitions)

ineffable – 1. incapable of being expressed; indescribable 2. Not to be uttered; taboo

infectivity – the proportion of persons exposed to an infectious agent who become infected by it

infibulation – to close off the genitals, typically by stitching, so as to prevent intercourse

infix – an extra consonant that appears in some, but not all, tenses of an irregular verb

inflammable –  flammable (not the opposite, as you might think). also fig.: excitable in temperament

influence; influenza – Latin influere "to flow into"  flowed into English by two separate courses. (1) From Old French, influence, an emanation from the stars (2) From Italian influenza, a disease caused (it was thought) by the influence of the stars.

infographics – visual representations of information, data or knowledge. These graphics are used anywhere where information needs to be explained quickly or simply, such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing, and education

infralapsarian – one who holds that Adam and Eve chose their acts of their own free will

infucation – the act of painting or staining, esp. face-painting. In other words, putting on makeup.

infuse – 1. to pervade; fill 2. to instill (a quality) into 3. to soak (tea, herbs, etc.) to extract the taste or heal qualities

ingenuous – 1. without deviousness  2. without sophistication or worldliness

inhume – to bury [a person] in a grave or tomb [counterpart of 'exhume']

inkhorn – affectedly or ostentatiously learned: inkhorn words (See hapax)

inkhorn term – a ridiculously obscure and erudite-sounding term of foreign origin (typically Latinate or Greek), used in a pretentious attempt to appear learned. [From the days of quill pens, which unlike modern pens do not carry their own ink. An inkhorn was a small vessel for ink fastened to the clothing.]

innervate – 1. to supply with nerves 2. to stimulate (a nerve or body part); contrast enervate

innumerate – antonym of numerate (see archives)

inpainting – art conservation: filling in lost or faded areas, with new paint

insidiate – to lie in ambush (for); to plot (against)

inter alia – among other things

interamnian – between rivers

interbastation – patchwork

intercalary – inserted in the calendar [now applied particularly to Feb. 29]; more generally: inserted amid others

intermodal – involving the transfer of goods between two different modes of transport

internaut – one skilled in navigating and using the Internet; ea netizen

interrobang – the punctuation mark ?!, used for sentences such as You did what?!

intestine (adj.) – internal

intromission – the act of inserting one thing into another; the act of letting something go in, admitting. Can be specifically used in a sexual sense.

inveigh – to attack with harsh criticism or reproach

inveigle – to win over a person by deceitful coaxing, flattery, allurement (OED) or cajolery (AHD)

inveterate – firmly and long established; deep-rooted; also, persisting in an ingrained habit

invidia – (the formal name of one of the seven deadly sins) envy

invigilator – someone who watches examination candidates to prevent cheating

involucre – a series of bracts beneath or around a flower

IPO – “Initial Public Offering”: a corporation's first offer to sell stock to the public

ipse dixit – an unsupported dogmatic assertion. broader usage: argument from supposedly conclusive authority, rather than from reasoned evidence.

ipsedixitism – dogmatic assertion

ira – belligerence aroused by a real or supposed wrong (the formal name of one of the seven deadly sins)

Iraqnophobia – an unusually strong fear of Iraq, esp. its ability to manufacture and use biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. (pun on arachnophobia – fear of spiders) This coinage had not achieved dictionary-recognition, as of May 2003

irascible (also here) – prone to outbursts of temper; easily angered

irenic – promoting peace

irish bull – an incongruous statement (as "It was hereditary in his family to have no children")

iron curtain – a barrier that prevents free communications of ideas and information

irony – the humorous or mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what they normally mean

irredentist – an advocate of recovering, from a  foreign government, territory culturally/historically related to one's own nation (irredenta: such territory)

irrefragable – indisputable; impossible to refute or controvert

irrumatio – fellation

isabelline; isabella; isabel – a dingy grayish-yellow color, as of unwashed underwear

isinglassΉ – a gelatin obtained from fish; previously used to clarify wine

isinglass² – chiefly US: mica in thin transparent sheets, a heat-resistant substitute for glass

isobar – a line on a weather map connecting points of equal atmospheric pressure. [isobaric – having equal pressure ]

isogloss – the geographical boundary of some linguistic feature

isopiestic – noun: an isobar; adj. having equal pressure; isobaric]

issei – first-generation Japanese in the United States, who immigrated from Japan in the late 1800s and early 1900s; nisei – second-generation Japanese; i.e, the offspring of issei; sansei – third-generation Japanese (note: distinct from sensei); yonsei – fourth-generation Japanese; nikkei – these four generations collectively; kibei – nisei who returned to Japan for education.

ithyphallic – having the penis erect (typically applied to statues) (also: lascivious; salacious; obscene; lewd)

jackalope – mythical creature: an antlered species of rabbit

jackanapes – eponym: a silly, conceited person; a ridiculous upstart

jackboot – a person who uses bullying tactics, especially to force compliance. (orig. and also, a stout military boot that extends above the knee)

Jacky Howe – eponym: Australian slang: a sheepshearer's sleeveless shirt

jactitation – boasting, bragging, ostentatious display (also jactation). jactant – boasting, boastful

jaculate – to throw out cast or hurl, as a dart or javelin; to emit [jaculable – fit for throwing]

Jacuzzi (trademark) – eponym: a large bath incorporating jets of water to massage the body

jadeΉ (etymology) – a semiprecious gemstone (either nephrite or jadeite) or its light green color. (entirely separate from jade² – an inferior or worn-out horse, or a crabby or disreputable woman)

jaegers – eponym: woolen underwear; a trade name (among other unrelated meanings)

jalousie – a blind or shutter made of a row of angled slats (Wordcrafter note: can be adjustable glass slats)

jammy – Brit slang: lucky, with overtones of jealousy; implies that the person did nothing to deserve his/her luck.

janfu – see snafu

janissary – one of a group of a highly loyal supporters (I’d say it implies a ruthlessness and near-religious zeal.)

Janus word – a word having two opposite meanings (e.g. 'sanction'; 'cleave')

je ne sais quois – something that cannot be adequately described or expressed

jeans – toponym: named from a fabric produced in Genoa, Italy

jeep – eponym: a small, durable, general-purpose motor vehicle [from character in the Popeye comics]

jehu – eponym: a driver, esp. one who drives furiously

jejune – 1. not interesting; dull. 2. lacking maturity; childish.

jennet or jenny-ass – a female donkey (the male is called a ''jackass')

jerboa – a small rodent of Africa/Asia; also, a small marsupial of Australia

jeremiad (also here) – eponym: a speech expressing a bitter lament or a righteous prophecy of doom

jerkwater – (contemptuous) 1. (of a place) remote, small, and insignificant, esp. "jerkwater town” 2. contemptibly trivial: jerkwater ideas

jerrican; jerry-can –  eponym: a flat-sided five-gallon container, usually metal, for petrol, water, etc.; esp. (military slang): a 5-gallon petrol can

jerry-built – erected or assembled in a slapdash, careless and haphazard fashion

Jerusalem artichoke – 'Sunflower' is girasole in Italian. We have corrupted girasole to Jerusalem, and we call the sunflower root the Jerusalem artichoke, though it is not an artichoke, and has nothing to do with Jerusalem.

Jesuitical – (often lowercase) practicing casuistry or equivocation; using subtle or oversubtle reasoning; crafty; sly; intriguing

jeunesse dorιe – young people of fashion and wealth

jezebel – eponym: an evil and scheming woman

jiggery-pokery – some sources say "underhand scheming or behavior". Others say it must be dishonesty in words: "verbal misrepresentation intended to take advantage of you in some way".

jihad (also here) – 1. a holy war waged on behalf of Islam 2. (by extension) a crusade or struggle of religious fervor

jim crow – eponym: upholding discrimination against Black people ("Jim Crow laws")

jimson weed (or jimpson weed) – toponym: a certain noxious poisonous weed, with rank-smelling foliage and narcotic/hallucinogenic properties. A corruption of Jamestown weed.

jingoism – eponym: fanatical, bellicose patriotism

jitney – 1. a small motor vehicle (e.g., a bus or van) that transports passengers on a route for a small fare. 2.  a nickel

jock – an athlete. term from US football; from jockstrap, which in turn traces back to 16th century English slang jock = penis

jocular – given to jesting; jocose

jodhpurs – toponym (plural noun; picture here): trousers for horse riding, close-fitting below the knee and with reinforced patches inside the leg.

joe – eponym: Australian slang: policeman

joey – British slang: orig. the silver Britannia groat, or fourpenny piece; later the silver threepenny piece

John Bull – eponym: personification of England or the English

John Hancock (also here) – eponym: a person's signature

Johnny Appleseed – one who seeds and spreads something desirable (not listed in dictionaries as a word) (contrast Typhoid Mary – one who, by circumstances, spreads something undesirable)

Jonah – eponym: 1. one who brings ill-fortune to those around him; a jinx 2. a prophet of doom and gloom

jorum – eponym: an unusually capacious bowl or goblet (Charles E. Funk), or its contents

judas – eponym: one who betrays in the guise of friendship

judas goat – an animal [or by extension, a person] used to lead others to destruction

judas hole – a one-way peephole in a door

judenrein – 'Cleansed of Jews;' areas where all Jews have been expelled, deported or killed

juggernaut – eponym: a massive inexorable force that crushes everything in its path

jugulate – to cut the throat of; also, to check or suppress (disease) by extreme measures

juju – an object used as a fetish, a charm

jump ball – (from basketball): an uncertain situation that could equally go either way; a "toss-up"

jumping Jehosaphat – used as a mild expletive (Amer. Eng.), with an old-fashioned and countrified feel

juncture (linguistics) – the degree of linkage between successive spoken sounds. Contrast the sounds of [t] and [r] in “nitrate”, where one flows tightly into the other, with the sharp boundary between those sounds in “night-rate”.

K Street – toponym: the political lobbying industry of Washington, D.C.

kairos – the propitious moment for doing something

KAL (knitting) – Knit ALong – a group of knitters chooses the same pattern to knit simultaneously and share their progress and challenges with one another along the way, often on a dedicated website for the purpose

kaltabomancy – divination by vessels of brass, or other metal [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

kamalayka – a shirt made of seal guts

kame – a conical hill of water-rounded sand or small stones, deposited by glacial meltwater [pronounced like came, the past tense of to come.]

kamuro – a firework like a brocade, but leaving longer trails; a sort of "weeping willow" effect

kapnomancy – divination by smoke [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

karakul – a breed of Central Asian sheep; fur from the pelt of a karakul lamb

karezza – coinage: coitus reservatus; the male refrains from (not merely delays) ejaculation

karoshi – death caused by overwork or job-related exhaustion.

katabasis – a retreat, esp. a military one (contrast anabasis); also: the decline of a disease

katabatic – of or relating to a cold flow of air traveling downward: a katabatic wind (converse: anabatic)

katoxtromancy – divination by looking-glasses [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

katzenjammer – a hangover (also, a discordant clamor). From Katzen = cats + Jammer = distress, wailing

kavir – a salt-desert, in Persia

keeper – on a belt, the loop through which the excess strap is threaded after buckling. also called ”billet”

kelt – a salmon, etc. in bad condition after spawning, before returning to the sea

kenning – a metaphorical compound expression in Old English poetry; e.g. oar-steed = ship

kerfuffle – Brit. colloquial: fuss, commotion

keromancy – divination by the melting of wax [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

kibber – (acronym for Keep It Barbershop) a traditionalist in barbershop-quartet singing; one opposed to changes in the style

kibei – see issei

kickshaw – a fancy dish in cookery; chiefly with contemptuous force: a fancified French 'something', not one of those good old English dishes. (also: a gewgaw; an item of bric-a-brac)

killick – a small anchor, esp. one of stone

kindle – a group of kittens

kinesthesia – the sense or perception that detects ones bodily position, weight, or movement [A similar term is proprioception, which stresses such perceptions from stimuli arising within the body.]

kinnikinnik – a mixture of dried leaves, bark and sometimes tobacco, smoked by certain of the American Indians (the longest palindromic word in English, but more often spelled kinnikinnick.)

KIP (knitting) – Knit In Public. also a verb, as in, “Anyone want to KIP with me tonight?”

kirtle – a tunic or coat, originally a garment reaching to the knees or lower

kismet – fate; fortune; destiny

kit – a number of things or persons taken as a whole (esp. used for clothing).

kit and caboodle – a miscellaneous assortment (The usual phrase is whole kit and caboodle, but the ‘whole’ is not necessary.)

kith [as in kith and kin] – familiar persons, taken collectively; one's friends, neighbors, acquaintances

kitsch – art or objects characterized by worthless pretentiousness

kiva – an underground or partly underground chamber in a Pueblo village

kleptocracy – a government of widespread greed and corruption ['government of thieves']

kleromancy – divination by lots [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

klieg light – eponym: 1. a powerful carbon-arc lamp, used esp. in making 2. figuratively: intense and unpleasant scrutiny

kloshar (or klloshar) (Albanian) – tramp, vagrant, homeless person; with the sense of 'loser'

klutz – a clod; a clumsy, slow-witted, graceless person

kneecap (verb) – (The dictionaries vary notably on this one) 1. to attack someone by shooting in the knee. 2. to hobble or cripple by one’s deliberate action

knell – the sound of a bell, especially when rung solemnly for a death or funeral [verb (of a bell): to ring solemnly]

Knickerbocker – eponym: a New Yorker descended from the early Dutch settlers; or, more broadly, a New Yorker

knit stitch – one of the two basic stitches in knitting (the other being the purl stitch, which is the opposite of the knit stitch). For details, see archives.

know-nothing – one taking a reactionary political position based on bigotry, ignorance, and emotion

knurl – a small protruding knob or ridge (also as verb). knurling – a surface of such bumps, to improve grip

kobold – German folklore: a mischievous household elf; also, a gnome that haunts underground places

Korinthenkacker (core-IN-ten-COCK-er) – German: a person overly concerned with trivial details

koseinomancy – divination by sieves [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

kowtow – to be excessively subservient towards someone

K-ration – eponym: a field ration for U.S. armed forces in World War II, consisting of a single packaged meal

Kriegspiel – 'war game', played by moving on a board pieces, flags, etc., representing armed forces

krithomancy – divination by corn or grain [dictionary at mancy lists 54 form of divination]

krobylos – a tuft of hair on top of one's head

Kulturkampf – conflict between cultures, or between secular and religious authorities

kuru – a fatal brain disease, spread by cannibalism

kvass – a Russian fermented beverage similar to beer, made from rye or barley

kvetch – a whining complainer, or his complaint. (verb: to so complain)