Printable Version
Pronunciation: hai-pêr-krayn-i-ah-lê-kwi Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: Talking over the heads of others.

Notes: Puzzled expression on the faces of an audience is a true reflection of hypercranialoquy. Eyes looking upwards as the words fly past is another reliable indicator. Today's more or less Good Word is a distant cousin of dorsaloquy "talking behind someone's back", a word made up by Perry Dror in the Alpha Agora way back in 2010. It is in the same family as circumaloquy "talking in circles", a word I just made up to show how easy it is.

In Play: Talking is fast becoming a lost art in the US. We often talk past each other, over each other's heads, or behind each other's backs: "The inability of Congress to get the message suggests that the US electorate may be engaged in a kind of hypercranialoquy at the polls." Speeches are more likely than normal conversations to go over our heads: "I go to the lectures of Maude Lynn Dresser more to see her outfits than to listen to her hypercranialoquial lectures."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a triple compound made up of Greek hyper "super, over" + Latin cranium "cranium" + Latin loqui "to talk". It all makes sense, doesn't it? Hyper emerged in Latin as super and, since they were spelled differently, English borrowed both. We didn't need either, though, since both mean "over", a word that comes from the same source. Of course, today, hyper "overwrought, excited" and super "great" are discrete words in English, so we did take advantage of the redundancy. Latin cranium "head" came from the same source as cornus "horn", whose root is found in the one-horned mythical unicorn as well as the cornucopia "horn of plenty". (Today we thank Gail Rallen for suggesting today's mythological Good Word and our old friend April Phule, for suggesting the concept. April 1 is a day of practical jokes and as a reward for reading this far, you are awarded a confession that today's Good Word is just a well-constructed hoax.)

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!