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Definition: the worship of words

Pronunciation: ep-EE-ohl-uh-tree


First cited by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., an American writer and physician, in 1860. From the ancient Greek “epos” (word) and “latry” (worship of). The word appeared in Professor at the Breakfast Table, a collection of his essays.

Why this word?

Because is a haven for epeolatry. If we didn’t worship words and devote some portion of our time to bringing them to the masses, this site wouldn’t exist. It’s a worship with which any writer, reader, or speaker can identify with. It’s one of those words that clearly describe a phenomenon we’ve all encountered, yet for some reason, is almost never used. Instead, we use cumbersome phrases like “the worship of words” or “obsession with words” where “epeolatry” would convey the same idea in a much quicker manner.

How to use epeolatry in a sentence:

Epeolatry is a noun. It’s a concrete idea – devotion to the art of language. Use it in this position and dress it up with adjectives. Make it verb, if you’d like.

“Kyle’s epeolatry has gotten to the point where he’s unfriended people on Facebook for misspelling common words.”

“I always give to the tithe at the Church of Webster. It’s a small price to pay for a place to express my epeolatry freely.”


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Written by Lindsay Kramer

Lindsay Kramer lives in New Jersey and has a large vocabulary. She likes writing, surfing, driving her Altima and playing with her pet rats. One of her favorite things about language is learning about the etymology of words and how they've descended through linguistic families over time. She speaks some German.


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