Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Word Wednesday: taphophile

Do you like gravestones? Do you think a cemetery is the perfect place for a Sunday afternoon picnic? Did you use up a whole day of your European vacation to drag your family through the catacombs of Rome?

If so, you've probably been described as morbid, Goth, creepy, or just plain freaky.

18th century Biedermeier-Headstone, St. Marx c...
18th century Biedermeier-Headstone, St. Marx cemetery, Vienna, Austria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The next time it comes up, teach your detractors a new word: taphophile. A taphophile is someone who is very interested in cemeteries, tombstones, crypts, and the like.

You'll no doubt recognize the -phile ending, from the Greek philia "friendship." It's where I got the last three syllables of Logophilius.

The beginning, taph-, comes from the Greek taphos "tomb." It's also where we get words like cenotaph and epitaph. (But not taffy. By law, salt water taffy must be less than three percent pulverized tombstone.)

So the next time someone denigrates you because of your affinity for marble slabs, educate them. You aren't some grim psychopath with an unhealthy obsession for the macabre; you're a taphophile.

Of course, you could be both.