Hello Wordamentalists and welcome to Wordament Obscure Word Wednesdays. I know that many of us often wonder about the definitions of some of those “obscure” words that are found in Wordament digrams and themed puzzles, so we’re starting up this weekly blog in order to expand our vocabularies!

  1. Stapes (stā′pēz) / Stapedes (stā′pĭ-dēz′) – The innermost of the three small bones of the middle ear, shaped somewhat like a stirrup. Also called stirrup.

[New Latin stapēs, stapēd-, from Medieval Latin, stirrup, perhaps alteration (influenced by Latin stāre, to stand, and pēs, ped-, foot) of staffa, stapha, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English stæpe, stepe, step.]

“The three small bones of the middle ear are the malleus, the incus, and the stapes.”


  1. Dossel (dŏs′əl) [Also spelled dossal] – An ornamental hanging of rich fabric, as behind an altar.

[Medieval Latin dossāle, from neuter of dossālis, dorsal, from Late Latin dorsālis.]

“I really like the play of colors in this dossel.”



  1. Salep(s) (ˈsælɛp) – A starchy meal ground from the dried roots of various orchids chiefly of the genus Orchis, used for food and formerly as medicine.

[Turkish salep, sahlep, salep, orchid from which salep is made, from Ottoman Turkish sa’lep, sālep, from Arabic (ḫuṣā al)-ṯa’lab, (testes of the) fox (from the appearance of the tubers).]

“Salep is currently used to create many popular orchid-flavored teas.”


Again, please let us know if there are words you find in Wordament for which you would like to learn a little bit more.

All definitions curtesy of: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Images curtesy of: www.learnbones.com, www.laudata.com, www.alibaba.com