Words on Writing: B

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A series of exuberantly disparaging remarks, insult as art form. Bdelygmia, pronounced de-LIG-me-uh, comes from the Greek word for “abuse.” Fans of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail will recognize this example spewn by a Frenchman from a battlement to the foreigners below:

You don’t frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at you, so-called Ah-thoor Keeng, you and all your silly English K-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-niggits! … You empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries![1]

Bone up on your bdelygmia—as in “You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch, you’re a nasty wasty skunk”—with Richard Nordquist’s delightful post, Bdelygmia: The Perfect Rant.


Any form of the verb to beam, are, be, been, being, is, was, were—whether it acts as an auxiliary (You are getting tired) or as a main verb (You are tired). As an auxiliary, a be-verb is a structure-class word, not a “true verb.”[2] As a main verb, a be-verb is a form-class word: a true verb.

See also linking verb.

For more, see the chapter “To Be or Not To Be” in Word Up! 

bossy verb

See imperative.


  1. A natural phenomenon that occurs in a room when a group of people fill the air with hundreds of charged ideas.
  2. A natural phenomenon that occurs in individuals’ heads as they write, sketch, or create anything, causing them to forget to eat, sleep, and change out of their slippers when they go outside.

A-Z page

This is not a list of all words about writing—you’d be scrolling all day. These definitions evolved while I was writing Word Up! I enjoyed what I learned and wanted to share it.

Get the full glossary and more in the book: Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything You Build from Them)

[1] “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Wikiquote, last modified March 6, 2012, http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Monty_Python_and_the_Holy_Grail.

[2] Thomas P. Klammer, Muriel R. Schulz, and Angela Della Volpe, Analyzing English Grammar, 5th ed. (New York: Pearson Longman, 2007), 108–109.

Last modified: October 21, 2022