So, I was reading over part of my novel the other night, and I came across a word that I didn’t know. Yes, you read that right. I didn’t know a word in something I wrote. I had to look it up. The word was apotropaic, which means “intended to ward off evil,” from Greek apotropaios, from apotrepein, to ward off: apo-, away- + trepein, to turn.
The thing about it is that I don’t remember learning it the first time. It’s not a word you just know, like amulet or talisman or charm would have been, or even a word you might happen upon by chance, like perhaps phylactery. But I had to have learned it at some point, because I used it, and I used it correctly.
It’s a conundrum.