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Omphaloskepsis

Definition: Intended both metaphorically and literally, this noun means the contemplation of one’s navel as a means to meditation.  Metaphorically it refers to a person who is so self-absorbed that they cannot look outside themselves

Pronunciation:  ohm-fall-o-skep-sis

Origin

Derived from two Greek words- omphalos, which means navel; and skepsis, which means examination or looking.  The word omphalos had a larger meaning to the ancient Greeks.  They believed that the center point of the world was located at Delphi and was a rock which they called the Omphalos. 

 Why this word?

Doesn’t everyone have those few friends who only talk about themselves and never asks about anyone else?  Next time, simply interrupt them and tell them they are a great example of omphaloskepsis, and then watch the puzzled look on their face as they are forced to acknowledge the contribution of another person to the conversation.  Or just smile and mentally write up a grocery list as you tune out the omphaloskepsis.

How to use the word omphaloskepsis?

“The yogi was so engrossed in his omphaloskepsis that he failed to notice the yeti approaching him”.

“Social media has contributed to the omphaloskepsis of an entire generation, now lost in the vision of their own navels while simultaneously connected virtually to more people than ever before”.

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Written by Kate Fulton

Kate Fulton has a bachelor’s degree in classics and psychology from the University of Massachusetts and is working on a library science degree from Simmons College. She has always been fascinated by words- their usage, spelling, and etymology. Kate may be one of the few people who enjoyed the verbal section of the SAT. Yes, she is a word geek. Currently she bores her husband and young daughter with her love of vocabulary.

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