24 June 2008


spiz-zer-inc-tum /spizz-uh-RING-tum/ n. [E dial. (U.S.) spizarinctum cash, specie, prob. irreg. fr. E specie]: the will to succeed : VIM, ENERGY, AMBITION

I found this word in Webster's Third New International Dictionary. It is one of those fun colloquial usages.

This one, though: I have never heard anyone say this word, not in real life, not in a movie, not even in a book!

Have you?


  1. No, I have never in my life seen this word, but I have a few comments anyway. I'm surprised that the etymology doesn't go back further than just English. With my recent interest in Latin and Italian (still very limited), it does appear to be related to both, especially with that Latin ending. In Latin the verb 'spissare' means "to condense, concentrate, to intensify." Then in Italian the verb 'spizzicare' means "to pick at, to peck at," and 'spinto' is an adjective used to describe someone or something that is driven, supercharged. I also found the word in my Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words. It adds some telling definitions to the Webster's: "gimcrackery; cheap, vulgar, decoration." Check out this website for more:

  2. That website is:


    in case you haven't already seen it.

  3. podo-

    The latinate ending "inctum" is a gag. Part of a made up word to make it sound somewhat scholarly. Doesn't mean it really has Latin roots. On 'tother hand, the related words you mention do have some possible merit. But this seems to me to be a word like "copacetic": a clever invention made up to sound a certain way. In this case, the word is full of itself. Does it not evoke "piss and vinegar"?