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Based on the Wiktionary Word of the Day Archive. Some editing of the list to remove ones that would be too easy in question form, and some editing of the descriptions to make them shorter or fit the questions better.

697 facts:

Phylogenetics
   means   
The Systematic Study of Organism Relationships Based on Evolutionary Similarities and Differences
Pidgin
   means   
A Simplified or Auxillary Language
As in pidgin English; a linguistic effort to bridge the gap between peoples with no common language
Pinguid
   means   
Oily
Pithy
   means   
Forceful & Brief
Piton
   means   
A Metal Spike With a Hole for a Rope
Used by mountain climbers
Plangent
   means   
Having a Loud or Deep Sound
Pleonasm
   means   
Use of Unnecessary or Redundant Words
Plethora
   means   
Excessive Abundance
Originally a pathological condition meaning excessive blood or other bodily fluids
Poltroon
   means   
An Abject Coward
Polyglot
   means   
A Person Who Can Read/write Many Languages
Also can be used as an adjective.
Polyhedron
   means   
A Solid Figure Having Many Faces
Poobah
   means   
A Person Holding Multiple Offices or Positions of Power, All at the Same Time
A term from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. In this operetta, the haughty character Pooh-Bah holds numerous exalted offices, including Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Buckhounds, Lord High Auditor, Groom of the Back Stairs, and Lord High Everything Else. The name has come to be used as a mocking title for someone self-important or high-ranking and who exhibits an inflated self-regard. Also 'Grand Poobah'.
Poppycock
   means   
Nonsense
Porous
   means   
Full of Tiny Pores That Allow Fluids or Gasses to Pass Through
Posthaste
   means   
Quickly
Posthumous
   means   
After Death
Postprandial
   means   
After a Meal
Especially after dinner
Pragmatic
   means   
Practical, Concerned With Making Decisions and Actions That Are Useful in Practice, Not Just Theory
Praxis
   means   
Practical Application of a Brand of Learning
Precipitate
   means   
To Bring About Hastily, Prematurely or Suddenly
Precipitous
   means   
Extremely Steep
Either physically or figuratively
Preternatural
   means   
Existing Outside of or Not in Accordance With Nature
Preternatural
   means   
Surpassing the Normal, Extraordinary
Procrustean
   means   
Merciless Dismissal of Individual Circumstances
Making every situation fit a prescribed formula.
Prognosticate
   means   
To Predict or Forecast, Especially Through the Application of Skill
Prolegonmena
   means   
Introductory Remarks
Promulgate
   means   
To Make Known
Prone
   means   
Lying Face Down
Prostrate
   means   
Lying Flat, Usually Prone
Often a form of adoration
Prowess
   means   
Skill
Pseudonym
   means   
A Fictitious Name, Often Used by Writers
Pshaw
   means   
Indicating Disapproval, Irritation, Impatience or Disbelief
Psithurism
   means   
The Whispering of Leaves Moved by the Wind
Pugilist
   means   
Boxer
Puissant
   means   
Powerful, Mighty, Having Authority
Pulchritudinous
   means   
Having Great Physical Beauty or Appeal
Pulveratricious
   means   
Covered With Dust
Punctilious
   means   
Attentive to the Fine Points of Behavior
Pusillanimous
   means   
Lacking Courage
Quaff
   means   
To Drink or Imbibe, Especially With Vigour
Quantulum
   means   
Small Quantity
Quantum
   means   
Sudden and Significant
As in a quantum leap
Quaquaversal
   means   
Going off in All Directions at Once
Quaternary
   means   
Of Fourth Rank or Order
This is the fourth item in the sequence that begins primary, secondary and tertiary. These are followed by quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, and denary. Twelfth order is duodenary, and twentieth order is vigenary.
Quean
   means   
Virago; Lewd Woman; (Scottish) Unmarried Woman or Girl
Quotient
   means   
The Number of Times One Quantity is Contained in Another
Ragamuffin
   means   
A Dirty, Shabbily-clothed Child; an Urchin
Rapin
   means   
An Unruly Art Student
Rapprochement
   means   
The Reestablishment of Cordial Relations
Esp. between nations
Rarefy
   means   
To Make Thin, Rare or Tenuous
Reconnoiter
   means   
To Survey Something
Redshirt
   means   
An Athlete Who Spends a Year Not Participating in Official Athletic Activities, but Does Not Lose His or Her Eligibility to Participate in Following Years
In collegiate sports
Referendum
   means   
Vote
Renege
   means   
To Break a Promise or Commitment
To go back on one's word
Repertitious
   means   
Found, Finding by Chance or Accident
Replete
   means   
Abounding
Reticent
   means   
Keeping One's Thoughts and Opinions to Oneself
Reserved or restrained
Ribald
   means   
Vulgar
Rictus
   means   
The Expanse of an Open Mouth, Beak or Similar Structure
Rorqual
   means   
Any Whale With Longitudinal Skin Folds Running from Below the Mouth to the Navel
Allowing the capacity of the mouth to expand greatly when feeding.
Rubicundity
   means   
Redness of Face
As from eating and drinking well
Ruffing
   means   
Stomping of Feet As a Form of Applause
Rustic
   means   
Country-styled or Pastoral; Rural
Sabulous
   means   
Sandy
Sackbut
   means   
An Ancestor to the Modern Trombone
Used in the Baroque
Sagacity
   means   
Sound in Judgment
Salchow
   means   
Ice-skating Leap
With turns from inner backward edge of one skate to outer backward edge of other.
Salep
   means   
Dried Root of Species of Orchid
Used as food, particularly to flavour hot milk in Turkey.
Salient
   means   
Prominent, Worthy of Note; Pertinent or Relevant
Saltire
   means   
X-shaped Cross
Salubrious
   means   
Promoting Health or Well-being; Wholesome
Sanguine
   means   
Blood Coloured; Red
Sanguisugent
   means   
Bloodthirsty
Sapient
   means   
Wise; Pretending to Be Wise
Satyriasis
   means   
Disorder Characterized by Preoccupation With Sexual Gratification
Saucy
   means   
Impertinent
Savvy
   means   
Shrewd
Scintillate
   means   
To Emit Sparks, or Fine Igneous Particles
Sciolism
   means   
Pretentious Superficial Knowledge
Scunner
   means   
An Aversion
Selcouth
   means   
Unusual, Strange
As an adjective
Selcouth
   means   
Wonderful; a Marvel
As a noun; strange, uncommon as an adjective
Sequacious
   means   
Easily Led or Moulded; Servile
Serendipity
   means   
Propensity for Finding Things by Chance or in Unexpected Places
Sesquicentennial
   means   
Occurring Every 150 Years
Sesquihoral
   means   
Lasting for an Hour an a Half
Sesquipedalian
   means   
Characterised by the Use of Long Words
From Latin meaning a foot and a half
Sibilant
   means   
Of, Characterized By, or Producing a Hissing Sound As "s" or "sh"
Sidereal
   means   
Pertaining to the Stars
Simper
   means   
To Smile in a Frivolous, Self-conscious Manner
Sinister
   means   
Evil, or Seeming to Be Evil
From the latin Sinistra meaning left, which was considered a bit dodgy. Dextra was right where we get words such as dextrous.
Skedaddle
   means   
To Leave Hastily
Skua
   means   
Any of Several Large Brown Gull-like Predatory Birds of Colder Waters of Both Northern or Southern Seas
Skullduggery
   means   
Underhanded Behavior
Smalt
   means   
Deep Blue Paint With Pulverized Glass Made With Cobalt Oxide
Sobriquet
   means   
A Nickname
Soiree
   means   
An Evening Social Gathering
From French for the evening
Solecism
   means   
An Error in the Use of Language, Especially an Error Concerning Etiquette
Solicit
   means   
To Persistently Endeavor to Obtain an Object or Bring About an Event
Solipsism
   means   
Belief That All Reality is Subjective, or That the Self Can Know No More That Its Own
Solivagant
   means   
A Person Who Wanders Alone
Somnificator
   means   
One Who Induces Sleep in Others
One who makes others sleepy
Sophism
   means   
Deceptive or Fallacious Argument
Southpaw
   means   
One Who is Left-handed
Sparge
   means   
To Spray or Sprinkle
Specious
   means   
Not Genuine but Appearing Genuine
Sphenoid
   means   
Wedge Shaped
Spoonerism
   means   
A Phrase in Which the Initial Sounds of Two or More of the Main Words Are Accidentally Transposed
Spurious
   means   
Fake, Counterfeit, Not Genuine
Statism
   means   
A Belief in the Importance of the Power of the State over an Individual
Used to describe more extreme views.
Steatopygia
   means   
Development of Fatty Deposits in the Buttocks
As among the Bushmen
Stegophilist
   means   
One Who Climbs Buildings for Fun
Stevedore
   means   
A Firm or Individual Engaged in the Loading or Unloading of a Vessel
Sublimate
   means   
To Change State from a Solid to a Gas Without Passing Through the Liquid State
Subterfuge
   means   
An Indirect or Deceptive Device or Stratagem
Supinate
   means   
To Twist the Forearm So As to Turn the Palm of the Hand Towards the Body or Forwards
Supine
   means   
Lying Face up
Swabby
   means   
A Sailor
Swan Song
   means   
A Final Performance or Accomplishment, Especially One Before Retirement
Sycophant
   means   
One Who Uses Compliments to Gain Self-serving Favour or Advantage from Another
Synchronise
   means   
To Make Two or More Events Happen at Exactly the Same Time, or at the Same Rate
Synchronism
   means   
Simultaneousness
Also describes the belief that the occurrence of otherwise unrelated simultaneous events has a significant meaning.
Synecdoche
   means   
A Metaphoric, Inclusive Term in Which a Part is Spoken of As the Whole or Vice-versa
Syzygy
   means   
An Alignment of Three Celestial Bodies Such That One Body is Directly Between the Other Two, Such As an Eclipse
Tabard
   means   
A Tunic
Usually part of medieval battle dress.
Tachygraphy
   means   
The Art and Practice of Rapid Writing
Tacit
   means   
Not Spoken
Taciturn
   means   
Uncommunicative
Tacturiency
   means   
The Desire of Touching
Tantalise
   means   
To Tease Someone by Offering Something Desirable but Keeping It out of Reach
From the Greek mythological figure Tantalus, whose punishment was to stand beneath a fruit tree with low branches that raised his intended meal whenever he reached for the fruit.
Tarantella
   means   
A Rapid Dance in 6/8 Time, Originating in Italy, or a Piece of Music for Such a Dance
Comes from the name of the tarantula, whose bite was supposed to cause a frenzy resulting in the dance
Tatterdemalion
   means   
A Person Wearing Ragged or Tattered Clothing
A ragamuffin
Tchotchke
   means   
A Trinket; a Knick-knack
The term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability
Technobabble
   means   
Technical or Scientific Language Used to Convey a False Impression of Meaningful Technical or Scientific Content
Tectum
   means   
The Dorsal Portion of the Midbrain, Containing the Superior Colliculus and Inferior Colliculus
Telergy
   means   
The Force That Effects Telepathy
Tellurian
   means   
Pertaining to the Earth; Dweller on the Earth
Temerity
   means   
Behavior Which is Foolishly Bold
Tergiversate
   means   
To Be Evasive
Terriculament
   means   
To Inspire One With Groundless Fear
Thaumaturgy
   means   
The Working of Miracles
Thrall
   means   
Slavery
Tiergarten
   means   
Zoological Garden
Timber
   means   
Trees in a Forest Regarded As a Source of Wood
Tintinnabulation
   means   
A Tinkling Sound, As of a Bell or Bells
Tiqueur
   means   
A Person Suffering from Tics
Tittle
   means   
A Small Diacritic Mark, Such As an Accent or Dot over an I
Tmesis
   means   
Separation of the Parts of a Word by Another Word
E.g. abso-bloody-lutely
Topography
   means   
A Precise Description of a Place
Also used as a general mapping procedure for types or networking in information technology
Torporific
   means   
Tending to Cause Apathy or Lethargy
Tripudiate
   means   
To Dance, Skip or Leap With Excitement
Truculent
   means   
Savage and Cruel
From Latin word for savage
Trudge
   means   
To Walk Wearily With Heavy, Slow Steps
Tyrotoxism
   means   
Poisoning from a Toxin in Milk or Cheese
Ubiquitous
   means   
Being Everywhere at Once: Omnipresent
Ubiquity
   means   
State of Being Everywhere
Ulterior
   means   
Further; Beyond; Not Seen or Avowed; Secret
Ululate
   means   
To Howl Loudly or Prolongedly in Lamentation or Joy
Umbriphilous
   means   
Fond of the Shade
Unasinous
   means   
Being Equal in Stupidity
Unfettered
   means   
Not Bound by Chains or Shackles
Unguent
   means   
Any Cream Containing Medicinal Ingredients Applied to the Skin for Therapeutic Purposes
Ungulate
   means   
Having Hooves
Usufruct
   means   
Right to Enjoy Property
Vade Mecum
   means   
A Referential Book Such As a Handbook or Manual
Vatic
   means   
Of, Pertaining to or Having the Characteristic of a Prophet
The man was a vatic example to all the people.
Vector
   means   
A Quantity With Both Magnitude and Direction
Velleity
   means   
State of Desiring Faintly; Slight Wish
Verisimilitude
   means   
The Property of Seeming True, of Resembling Reality; Resemblance to Reality, Realism
Vertiginous
   means   
Whirling, Spinning, Rotating; Affected With Vertigo
Vex
   means   
To Annoy
Vicarious
   means   
Experienced or Gained Through Someone Else, Such As Through Watching or Reading
Vicissitudes
   means   
Changes
Vinegaroon
   means   
An Arachnid Which Emits Vinegar Odor when Annoyed
Commonly known as a "Whip Scorpion"
Virgate
   means   
Shaped Like a Wand
Virgule
   means   
Slanting Mark Indicating Pause, Hyphen, or Alternative
Vituperate
   means   
Speak Bitterly, Harshly or Abusively
Vituperative
   means   
Marked by Harshly Abusive Criticism
Vocabularian
   means   
One Who Pays Too Much Attention to Words
Vociferous
   means   
Loud and Forceful
Vortex
   means   
A Whirlwind, Whirlpool, or Similarly Moving Matter in the Form of a Spiral or Column
Vulnerose
   means   
Full of Wounds, Wounded
Whigmaleerie
   means   
A Whim or Fanciful Notion or Ornament
A Scottish word; nowadays, it is often applied to a rotating clothes dryer in a garden!
Whippersnapper
   means   
A Young and Cheeky or Presumptuous Person
Wimp
   means   
A Feeble, Ineffectual, Cowardly Person
Originally a young woman in the 1920's at Cambridge University
Winnow
   means   
To Separate Grain or the Like from Chaff or Refuse Matter
Usually by means of wind
Winsome
   means   
Innocently Pleasing
Wroth
   means   
Full of Anger; Wrathful
Wynd
   means   
Alley
Xenial
   means   
Pertaining to Hospitality, or Relations With Friendly Visitors
Xenophobia
   means   
Hatred or Dread of Foreigners
Yashmak
   means   
Veil of Muslim Women
Zabernism
   means   
The Misuse of Military Power
Zealot
   means   
A Person Who Tries to Foist Their Strong Opinions on Others
Zeitgeist
   means   
The Spirit of the Age; the Taste, Outlook, and Spirit Characteristic of a Period
Zeugma
   means   
Literary Device of Using Word to Modify Two Other Words With Only One of Which It is Correctly Used
Zygodactylous
   means   
Having Two Toes Pointing Forward, and Two Toes Pointing Backward
Chameleons are a great example of animals with zygodactyl feet. Wonderful little creatures!


Facts contributed by:


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