Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Roger from Asheville writes, “A good friend of mine has been collecting swords and small armor for years, and now that he’s retired, he’s started attending gun shows as a seller. He had business cards printed up that say he’s a hoplologist. Is this something he made up? He’s always had a quirky sense of humor.”

I’ll take your word about his sense of humor, but this is no joke. Your friend has an impressive vocabulary. Hoplology is the scientific study of weapons and armor, and a hoplologist is someone who pursues that study.

The base is the Greek word hoplon (πλον), defined as a weapon or piece of armor. There is also a connection to a word meaning a hoof, the hoof being a type of protection for a foot.

In extended use, the word part –hoplo- is used to mean protected, and is frequently employed in Zoology.

SIDEBAR: an interview with Michael Sheehan

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Check out Mike's program-based books here:

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now.

There is a collection of podcasts. Go to and click on Podcasts. Scroll down The Ron Jolly Show to find the Words to the Wise audio button.



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