Callipygian

I came across this word whilst playing Cranium with friends. My unfortunate partner and I had to correctly identify the meaning of this word from a list of four possible options. Now I’m quite proud of my knowledge of words and etymology, but neither calli nor pygian rang any bells.
So after careful and lengthy deliberations within the one minute allowed, we went for "organ-like instrument", rather than "prone to callous disregard" (red herring alert! We’re not that naïve oh no), "Islamic cleric" (too Greeky for an Islamic term) or "having beautifully proportioned buttocks" (plain ridiculous).
It turns out that it comes from the Greek kalli– (beautiful) and puge (buttocks).
Of course, over an hour later, once we were defeated and the game was put away, the word calligraphy (the art of forming beautiful letters) came to my mind. Why is my brain incapable of retrieving the useful information it contains when I need it to?
So there you go: a really useful word for those who like to be original when complimenting a loved one/chatting up beautiful strangers.

By | 2016-10-18T15:52:11+00:00 February 23rd, 2004|Words|7 Comments

About the Author:

Celine
I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.

7 Comments

  1. Peter Dyson February 24, 2004 at 8:03 am

    I don’t think that I will ever remember to use this in the future 🙂
    but…
    How is callipygian used grammatically?
    Does she/he have callipygian?
    Are you callipygic?

  2. céline February 24, 2004 at 8:26 am

    It’s an adjective, so you could say “My, my, fair lady, aren’t you callipygian!”. Please let us know if it works! 🙂

  3. Charles2 February 24, 2004 at 7:23 pm

    Found your blog via Alas, A Blog. I love words – I’m fond of “collecting” them – although in most conversations you really don’t get much of a chance to use the best ones. Ah, well.
    I’m adding you to my blogroll and will be dropping by on occassion to get my word fix!

  4. jean April 12, 2004 at 1:40 pm

    What I’d like to know is: just what are the factors in determining whether the state of callipygian rear twinsets – exists… 🙂

  5. Joe May 26, 2004 at 10:58 pm

    Proper usage: “My, my, fair lady, aren’t you callipygous !”.

  6. The Great Nick Ball's Weblog December 2, 2004 at 10:00 am

    My New Favorite Word/Pickup Line/Compliment

    “Callipygian” (Dictionary Link). Look it up. You better like it, cause I’m gonna use it a lot. I discovered it from this fine website(I don’t know how I stumbled on the site in the first place). It’s a cool word….

  7. The Great Nick Ball's Weblog December 6, 2004 at 4:31 am

    My New Favorite Word

    “Callipygian” (Dictionary Link). Look it up. You better like it, cause I’m gonna use it a lot. I discovered it from this fine website(I don’t know how I stumbled on the site in the first place). It’s a cool word….

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