Visual Vocabulary: Inure

Inure: Cause to accept or become hardened to, habituate. As in, [MOM AND THE FAINT OF HEART, DONT READ THIS]

Dmitri, it turned out, was remarkably adept at crafting life-like fingers, toes, and sexual organs from basic ingredients. Hed fashion frighteningly realistic severed thumbs—skin rudely shredded on one end, bone fragments made from leek white projecting from the wound—and wed leave these things around for unsuspecting waiters and managers to find. A waiter would open a reach-in in the morning to find a leaking, torn fingertip, Band-Aid still attached, pinioned to a slice of Wonderbread with a frilled toothpick. ....

Eventually, when every member of the staff was thoroughly inured to the sight of a severed, fly-covered penis in the urinal, or finding a bloody finger in his apron pocket, we moved on to even greater atrocities.” —From Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdain

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I'm 2 for 2 on the gory illustrations lately, but I simply couldnt pass this one up. 


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Incarnadine

Incarnadine: (adjective, can also be used as a noun and verb) of the blood-red color of raw flesh. As in:

Whenever I read about the murders in the news I am struck by the dogged, almost touching assurance with which interstate stranglers, needle-happy pediatricians, the depraved and guilty of all descriptions fail to recognize the evil in themselves; I feel compelled, even, to assert a kind of spurious decency. Basically I am a very good person. This from the latest serial killer—destined for the chair, they say—who, with incarnadine axe, recently dispatched half a dozen registered nurses in Texas.
—From The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

Visual Vocabulary: incarnadine, Julie Rado Design

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So do you think serial killers who think of themselves as very good people probably wear smiley face shirts when theyre cheerily committing acts of mass murder? (I’m decreasing the surplus population! I’m helping!) Thats what came to my mind. Just me? OK. If you say so.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Pince-Nez

Pince-Nez: spectacles clipped to the nose by a spring. As in, The Dowager Countess was very disappointed in Spratt for bringing her lorgnette when she was clearly in need of her pince-nez. The woman was known for her discerning choices in eyewear.

Visual Vocabulary, pince-nez, Julie Rado Design

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I'm beginning to see I have archetype characters. Saturnine old lady with the lorgnette or the pince-nez. Creepy hirsute cousin of spermaceti guy. And so many with big noses. Can't stay away from a big schnozz. It should probably be my tagline. 


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.

Visual Vocabulary: Reveille

Reveille: a signal to get up in the morning; in the military it is a bugle call at sunrise. As in, “Every morning when they sounded the reveille at Camp Anawanna, Donkey Lips was rudely and violently startled awake.”

Visual Vocabulary: reveille, Julie Rado Design

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For the full experience, you’re going to want to play the audio with this one. And if you don’t know who Donkey Lips is, then I’m sorry that you did not grow up with Nickelodeon in the early 90s. Salute your shorts! And if you did grow up watching Nickelodeon, well, you’ll never forget what the word reveille means now. 

Camp Anawanna, we hold you in our hearts
And when we think about you, it makes me wanna fart!
(Some things never change)

P.S. I’m sure my musical notes are riddled with mistakes. Forgive me, for I was not a bugler. I was a violinist and I’m very rusty at reading music.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.

Visual Vocabulary: Sirocco

Sirocco: a windstorm that lifts up clouds of dust or sand. As in, “I was doing my spring cleaning and managed to whip up quite the sirocco. I guess I should probably bust out the Swiffer more often.”

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This is going to be one of the words I just know I’ll attempt to use in future and get the pronunciation and/or spelling wrong. In the last five minutes Ive spelled it “sorocco,” “sicorro” and “soccoro.” Whatever, the fancy name for the dust cloud, you know which one I mean! I can remember harmattan just fine, but its a bit more geographically specific. However, once again I need to point out that a captious Mr. Carson would not be amused with the source of this sirocco.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Meretricious

Meretricious: of, relating to, or characteristic of a prostitute. As in, “Say, Janie, don’t you think those boots are a little...meretricious?”

Visual Vocabulary: meretricious, Julie Rado Design

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Haven’t we all had a gleam in our eye for lace-up, thigh-high red pleather hooker boots [or some other equally distasteful article from clothing from Rave] at one point in our lives? (Probably around the time we were 16?) Let’s be thankful for the friends who talked us out of dressing quite so meretriciously.... Alternatively, let’s be thankful for the friends who gleefully joined in dressing meretriciously so we wouldn’t feel alone. Which camp did you fall into??


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Saccade

Saccade: a rapid, jerky movement of the eyes between positions of rest. As in, “Did you notice the saccade that Marvin developed after his eighteenth cup of coffee today? Someone needs to tell that dude to lay off the caffeine and keep him away from the clients!”

Visual Vocabulary: saccade, Julie Rado Design

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Bzzzt. Bzzzt. That’s what a saccade sounds like. Come to think of it, this is probably what we look like when there’s a fruit fly relentlessly hovering around our computer screens and we’re trying to find the perfect moment to lay the smack down. Call it the fruit fly saccade. Or if you want to remain un-fancy, ping pong eyeballs.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Bibelot

Bibelot: a bauble, knickknack or trinket. As in, “Sammy continued to gather dust on Thelmas shelf and thought to himself, ‘I’m just a bibelot. Everywhere I go. Just a damn bibelot.’”

Visual Vocabulary: bibelot, Julie Rado Design

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Im going to go ahead and assume that if, like me, you grew up in the 70s or 80s, you totally get the two references in this illustration. If not, then all I have to say is Bop. Bozedy bozedy bop, zitty bop. And then I’d tell you to look here and here.


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.


Visual Vocabulary: Susurrus

Susurrus: the indistinct sound of people whispering. As in, “I was struggling to pick out any piece of the susurrus to distract myself from my creepy date’s attempts at conversation. You’re damn right I’m going to finish my breadstick, you cheapskate!”

Visual Vocabulary: susurrus, Julie Rado Design

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So apparently susurrus is also called “walla” when it’s used for film. (In case you were wondering why there are so many vegetable names in the background.) Also, if this guy looks familiar, then you must have worked with me at the car dealership in the early 2000s. Or you read this last year. I mean...he was too good to be a one hit wonder. 


Visual Vocabulary is a project I created for myself in which I attempt to sear new words into my memory by illustrating them. You can see all of them here, and read more about the process behind them here.