You may call me a penster or a wordmonger if you wish, but I just love words, and there are some awfully good ones that should be seen and heard more often among us gunfolk.

penster (PEN-ster): One who uses a pen in a small way; a petty writer; a literary hack.

wordmonger (WURD-mong-guhr): A writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly.

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Increasing your word-hoard will prepare you to bloviate on the subject of guns.  This article is filled with inkhorn terms you can use to amaze (well, at least amuse or confound) your family and friends in gun-related discussions.

word-hoard (WURD-hoard):   The sum of words one uses or understands; a vocabulary.

bloviate  (BLO-vee-ayt): To speak pompously.

inkhorn term (INGK-horn turm):  An obscure, ostentatious, or bookish word, especially one derived from Latin or Greek.

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A matte finish is best for concealed carry, but I prefer the nitid finish on some of my non-carry guns.

nitid (NIT-id): Bright; shining; glossy.

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If your favorite gun is ferruginous, is that good or bad?  It could be either, depending on how recently you cleaned it.

ferruginous (fe-RU-ge-nus): 1. Containing iron  2. Resembling iron rust in color

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Don’t you just love to skewer an anti-gunner’s furphy with your own apodictic assertion?  For example, when someone says that the crime rate would go down if guns were banned, you come back with the fact that more crimes are prevented with guns than committed with guns.

furphy (FUR-fee): A widely held belief that has no basis in fact. This is an Australian word, mate!  Warning: This word may be addictive.  You may think you can stop with one favorite furphy, but you will find fertile fields of fantastic furphies to fascinate and frustrate you.

apodictic (ap-uh-DIK-tik): Demonstrably true.

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When it comes to firearms, I’m definitely an opsimath.  I never fired a gun until I was past the age of 30.

opsimath (OP-si-math):   One who begins learning late in life.

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Our muliebrity demands that we learn to protect ourselves, with guns if necessary, and that we be prepared to defend our opinions as well as our bodies.

muliebrity (myoo-lee-EB-ri-tee):  1. The state of being a woman.   2. Femininity.

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I often shoot at limbate targets – it’s much easier to get a good sight picture that way.

limbate (LIM-bate): Having a part of one color surrounded by an edging of another color (for example, a  leaf, or a bullseye target).

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If you have a self-defense gun, but no specialized training in how to manage defensive scenarios, a supervenient situation may leave you in a tactical zugzwang, with your chances of survival greatly diminished.

supervenient (su-per-VEN-yent): Coming or occurring as something additional, extraneous, or unexpected

zugzwang (ZUG-zwang): A situation (in a chess game) in which a player is forced to make an undesirable or disadvantageous move.  This term is sometimes used to refer to a forced choice which results in a loss either way.

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When having discussions with a hoplophobe, don’t be dogmatic.  Hoplophobia is changed more readily by patient instruction than by verbal force.

hoplophobia (hop-lo-FOB-ee-a): An irrational fear of, and aversion to, weapons, particularly firearms.  This word, coined by Jeff Cooper, is based on the Greek roots oplo, which means weapon, and phobia, which means fear.  It is truly an inkhorn term.

hoplophobe (hop-lo-FOB): A person who suffers from hoplophobia.

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What do you have if you have an Annie Oakley for a current Broadway hit play?  No, the play doesn’t have to be the revival of Annie, Get Your Gun, which is (loosely) based on the life of that famous American markswoman.  An “Annie Oakley” is a complimentary ticket, a free pass.  Where did that term come from?  Well, show tickets used to be punched, which left them with holes that looked just like the playing cards that Annie, in her Wild West Show, would toss into the air and drill with her rapid, accurate fire.

Nicknamed “Little Sure Shot,” Annie was one of the most famous shooting performers of her era (1860 – 1926).  She could shoot a coin out of the air, and she could shoot the ashes off a cigarette held between her husband’s lips.  I’m very glad that her name was bestowed as an eponym on free tickets, not cigarette stubs!

eponym (EP-o-nim):    a word named after a person or place, real or fictional.

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If you are a word maven, you should know about the amazing WordSmith web site,, which offers free subscriptions to a terrific A-Word-A-Day email service.  Many of the words in this column, including the Annie Oakley, came from that linguistic lollapalooza.