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Vocabulary Lesson

(This post was adapted from a piece developed for “The Rec Room Reads the Dictionary Aloud to You,” an installment of the monthly Chicago readings series The Rec Room which installment was curated by Big Other’s Jac Jemc).

I will begin this Big Other post by administering a trivia question from the popular board game Cranium:

For this Lexicon, you must determine the correct definition of the word below.

w o r d: callipygian

a) organ-like instrument drawn on a trailer

b) prone to callous disregard

c) elegant or skillfull writer

d) having beautiful buttocks

The correct answer is–

d) having beautiful buttocks.

Callipygian: Adjective: Of, pertaining to, or having beautifully-shaped or finely-developed buttocks.

From Greek, the name of a famous statue of Venus.

As used by Umberto Eco:

“Her gown (perhaps as a result of the scorching winds coming off the ambas) clung damply to her body, clearly revealing her callipygian curves and the entire shapely length of her legs.”

As used by Thomas Pynchon:

“Those dusky Afro-Scandinavian buttocks, which combine the callipygian rondure observed among the races of the dark continent with the taut and noble musculature of sturdy Olaf, our blond Northern cousin.”

As found in the South China Morning Post:

“It hasn’t been lost on modern film directors that a nice set of tights can showcase the callipygian assets of a well-formed leading man.”

And on the website Urban Dictionary:

“Yo, you see that fine ass bitch over there? I would use the word callipgygian to describe that shit, yaknowwhatimsayin?”

Being as we (meaning me, Timothy Jones-Yelvington, and you, Big Other reader) are callipygian, we possess slammin’ asses, and so should rise and shake our callipygian shit.

Which callipygian shit you’ll shake while playing this track

5 thoughts on “Vocabulary Lesson

  1. This has for many years been one of my favorite words too. First learned it reading Huxley’s Antic Hay, a really great book, BTW.

    Steatopygia is another good one meaning huge buttocks.

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