In a Word

n. one who has left civilization and returned to the wilderness

Sarah Bishop was a young lady of considerable beauty, a competent share of mental endowments and education; she possessed a handsome fortune, but was of a tender and delicate constitution, enjoyed but a precarious state of health, and could scarcely be comfortable without constant recourse to medicine and careful attendance. She was often heard to say that she had no dread of any animal on earth but man. Disgusted with her fellow-creatures, she withdrew from all human society, and at the age of about twenty-seven, in the bloom of life, resorted to the mountains which divide Salem from North Salem: where she has spent her days to the present time, in a cave, or rather cleft of the rock, withdrawn from the society of every living being.

— G.H. Wilson, The Eccentric Mirror, 1813

In a Word

n. the full moon

In a 1961 letter to his aunt, J.R.R. Tolkien declared that this word is beautiful even before it is understood, and wished he could have the pleasure of meeting it again for the first time. “And surely the first meeting should be in a living context, and not in a dictionary, like dried flowers in a hortus siccus!”