Ventriloquy: The act, art or practice of speaking in such a manner that the voice appears to come not from the person, but from some distant place.

Ventriloquy comes from the Latin word ventriloquus which itself comes from two other Latin words. Venter means stomach or belly.  And loqui means to speak.  So, a ventriloquist is someone who appears to be speaking, not with the mouth, but with, perhaps, the stomach.

The ancients believed that a person practicing ventriloquy was under duress, or under the spell of a demonic power, or the power of a deity.


Pauciloquent: Using few words.  Brief in speech.  Taciturn.  Succinct.  Laconic. Breviloquent.

Pauciloquent comes from the Latin words paucus which means “few” and the Latin verb loquor, meaning “I speak”.

“The pauciloquent beggar received few pennies.” 

“The pauciloquent king was dethroned.” 

– From Stephen (a student in my early morning class, Word Up: Live!)

Two words, same meaning

In our series, “Word Up: Live!” this morning, we looked at two English words.  Here they are:

Loquacious: talkative; garrulous; apt to blab and disclose secrets.

Loquacious comes from the Latin verb loquor, meaning “I speak”.

Here are a few example sentences:

“He lacked close friends as he was loquacious, brawling, and ever in the wrong.”

A student in class came up with the following:

“The loquacious man was unable to keep his friend’s secret.”


The next word, which means almost the same thing is multiloquent.

Multiloquent: Excessive talkativeness; loquaciousness; prolixity. 

Multiloquent comes from two Latin words.  Multus means, much or many.  The Latin verb loquor, means “I speak”.  Together they create the word multiloquent.

Here are a few example sentences:

“During the concert, the multiloquent singer bored us by talking excessively between each song.”

“Tripped up by his own multiloquence, the speaker stammered during his speech.”

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Interlocutor: a person who participates in a dialogue or takes part in a conversation; a talker, or a mediator between others.

Interlocutor comes from the Latin inter, meaning “between” and the Latin verb loquor, meaning “I speak”.

For example:

“After our difficult conversation, we thought it might be best to continue with the help of an interlocutor.”

“The Duke, acting as interlocutor, was speaking with the queen when the king entered the conversation.”

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Every Saturday, I send out a tip of the week.  I also include announcements, upcoming classes, and so on.  If you would like to hear from me every weekend, sign up for my weekly updates here:


You subscribe to my “tip of the week” and I appreciate that.  I really do.  It’s a small thing, but it means a lot to me.  In person, I am generally taciturn.  After twenty years in the classroom, and after twenty years of thinking on my feet, I find it relaxing to now think on paper.

So, thanks for listening.

Like you, I also subscribe to mailing lists.  I receive weekly emails too.  This week, Tim Ferris (of Four Hour Work Week fame) sent out a tech tip that I felt I just had to pass on to you guys.

It’s a simple thing, I know, but since I use YouTube to teach myself so much, it was kind of a huge thing for me.

Here goes.  Turns out, you can jump forward and backward on YouTube.

To go back 10 seconds, press J.
To pause, press K.
To jump forward 10 seconds press L.

Here’s a bit more from Tim:

“This might not seem like much, but it’s incredibly helpful when moving around in longer videos (or audio on YT) or trying to repeat what you just saw/heard, as clicking on the progress bar itself can lead to jumping around in 4-5-minute increments.”

So true.

This was a big moment for me this week.  I wanted to share my moment with you.  I hope you find it helpful.

By the way, I am still teaching a free, live etymology class every morning (except Sundays).

On Friday, I foolishly allowed the link to lapse.  If ever this happens again, check my blog, and the Visual Latin Facebook page.  I quickly posted the links there when I realized my mistake.

Anyway, here is the link for the next 30 days or so:…/5460760071755583747

The live class is available to anyone. Recordings, unfortunately, are only available to those who have subscribed to my site:

I hope your new year is off to a great start!

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