A geology word I learned this morning, reading about the Gulf of Mexico (my roommate was watching Armageddon last night and that sparked some desultory scientific talk about the Gulf’s depth and if it really was formed by a meteorite and what a good role for an aging Bruce Willis that was): orogeny (or’-o-jen-ee), “a process in which a section of the earth’s crust is folded and deformed by lateral compression to form a mountain range.”
Other words that have come up recently: fabulist and tragedian. A fabulist is, of course, someone who composed fables; a tragedian is either an author of or an actor specializing in tragedies.
And, to top it off, I ran across this word in a Neruda poem over the weekend (no, I’ll spare you a Neruda poem today) and remembered when I learned it from my old boss: amanuensis (a-man-you-EN-sis). The original meaning was someone who took dictation specifically for a blind person, but now it’s “a literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts.”
I’m sure you will have all sorts of opportunities to drop these words casually into everyday conversation.