• callipygian •
kæ-lê-pi-jee-ên • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Having or otherwise pertaining to well-proportioned, shapely buttocks.
Notes: This funny though felicitous word expresses our appreciation of the human anatomy, which tends to be fixed on a few specific regions. Not only is this word a polite way to refer to this alluring physiognomic characteristic, but a euphonious (pleasant-sounding) one to boot.
In Play: This is a word we can all use fearlessly, "The ever-observant Marian Kine lingered a slight moment in the bookstore to more fully calculate the callipygian young man reaching for tomes on the upper shelves." Age can damage or improve this characteristic of our bodies: "The passing years had remolded Gloria Sass's figure into that of a zaftig woman of eminent callipygian luxuriance."
Word History: This funny but lovely word is based on Greek kallipygos, a compound comprising kallos "beauty" + pyge "buttocks". Neither of these words seems to have roots. Kallos could hardly be related to Latin callus "hardened skin" and, although it resembles English hallow, most etymologists (word historians) think that word is unrelated. If pyge were related to any English word, it would be an obscenity in our beloved language. As such, it would not have been printed until recently (since the media made obscenities fashionable), making tracing its history impossible.