Instead of being frustrated when I come upon a word I don’t know, I’m pleased. Aha! A new one. When I find a new one, I either jot it onto a sticky note and put it where, in theory, I will not lose it; or, if I’m reading a book, I use a 3x5 card as a bookmark so that I can note any unfamiliar word and the page number. (If I’m reading a novel by Elizabeth George, I may need more than one card.)
Recently I came across these three:
nosology: n. the branch of medicine that deals with classification of disease
adytum: n. a sacred place (also a Death Metal band)
orrery: n. a mechanical device that shows the relative positions of the planets and moons around the sun; a 3D model of how celestial bodies orbit the sun. There's an enormous orrery in the climactic scenes of "Lara Croft Tomb Raider," a 2001 movie starring Angelina Jolie and featuring Daniel Craig as Alex West. (Craig was relatively unknown at the time and wasn't listed in the movie trailer.)
As I was writing this post, the word-checking program on my computer underlined two of the three words. Apparently the word-checking program is unfamiliar with them, too.
(About the photo: The orrery shown was completed in August 2005. For more information, see The 10,000 Year Clock at http://longnow.org/clock/orrery/.)