This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Word To Use Today: mistigris.


There are some words that are worth cherishing entirely for their decorative purposes.

Mistigris, for example.

Jack of Clubs by casino - Jack of Clubs

Mistigris is a French word, and even though it's been around in English since the 1800s you still say it in the French way: MISTiGREE.

Why do I like it so much? I think it's because it sounds like a mixture of mist, mystery, and ambergris (which, although it comes from sperm whales, is said to smell lovely).

A mistigris is a blank card or joker - a wild card - a totally random piece of good luck that makes your hand more powerful. 

You'll find a mistigris in one form of poker, and mistigris can also be used as the name of the game in which a mistigris is used.

I started off by saying that the word mistigris is of decorative value, but it strikes me that saying mistigris is a lot quicker than saying a totally random piece of good luck that makes your hand more powerful.

So perhaps we should start using the word mistigris more often.

Word To Use Today: mistigris. This word is French, from the Old French mistigouri, and means pussycat or jack of clubs.

I'm afraid, though, that the connection between pussycats and jacks of clubs escapes me.


  1. I've been looking at etymologies too much, as I'm wanting it to mean misty grey!
    Which is a nice cat colour!

    1. Miste seems to mean pleasant, and the gris seems not to be from gris meaning grey, but from gourer, which means to make a mistake.

      I have no idea what that's got to do with either cats or Jacks of Clubs - though I CAN see the connection with wild cards.

      Mistigris is the perfect name for a stray moggie, anyway.