words at the Seattle Public Library
[words at the Seattle Public Library]

I’ve been meaning to work this word into conversation for a while now, ever since I encountered it on the Word-of-the-Day email list. It seems like a fun, obscure thing to accuse someone of1

Similar to idolatry and iconodulism, epeolatry literally means the worship of words. It derives from epos, which unlike logos more specifically means word in Greek, and was apparently coined in 1860 by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.[1]. You may be hard-pressed to find an admitted epolatrist because the term connotes a sort of blind devotion, sanctimony, or hypocrisy; or more specifically, an advanced form of reification. Figuratively speaking, the word can be playfully applied to philologists, linguists, or lexicographers.
The term is of significant satirical value and may be used in the denigration of popular religions or belief systems. For example, one could call Christianity an epeolatric religion because the majority of its teachings hinge on the words of the Hebrew Bible. However, you are unlikely to encounter the word in any form because it remains obscure.

[From Epeolatry – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

This particular Oliver Wendell Holmes book2 is available at Project Gutenberg as well as Google Books

Suggested entry at the new word-centric site, Wordnik.

  1. being an epeolatrist presumedly []
  2. that I’ve never heard of before today []

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