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I'm looking for a word, not necessarily a direct “reverse dictionary” sort of word that has the definition above, but even a creative word that can describe, label, or represent that sort of person with just the one word. Having a slightly negative connotation is an added bonus, and a balance between negativity and positivity is also fine.

Again, the label sought is to describe, stand for, or attach to a wise and studious or academic person, but who is also frail and ghastly.

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    Perhaps you're thinking of "wizened" - but, despite the way it sounds, it doesn't imply wisdom, it just means "shriveled with age." – Oldbag Jul 10 '15 at 11:50
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    I think "nerd" captures a lot of it. – Hot Licks Jul 10 '15 at 11:55
  • I love “wizened”, and for the reason you mentioned: it may not have a direct lexicographical link to the meaning above, but it combines the meaning [and] the “sound” of it. Please include it as an answer! – Rok Jul 10 '15 at 12:00
  • “Nerd” is the classic one, yes, but it is up to the sophistication I'm trying to represent; nerds are usually not associated with wisdom, and perhaps “ghastly” is taking it a bit too much to describe nerds. Hehe! – Rok Jul 10 '15 at 12:02
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    A word doesn't necessarily exist just because you can describe some characteristics. Anyway, what is the point? Are you trying to write a ten-word book? – Robusto Jul 10 '15 at 12:24
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Okay... The word "wizened" means dried-up or shriveled with age. While the meaning does not include inferences to mystical knowledge - or even wisdom that comes with age - the sound of it may conjure those images, regardless.

  • As I commented elsewhere, I agree and truly love this word as a suggestion, then as an outright answer. Wizened does not denote wisdom & knowledge (in the definiens), but it connotes it, even if by the mere sound of the word; and by denoting withered, shriveled looks directly in the meaning or definition, I view it as the perfect word. Thank you! – Rok Jul 11 '15 at 20:18
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I'm not sure there is a single word.

Studious person = bookworm

Names of actual creatures that attack books

deathwatch beetle (larvae)

book-louse or paper-louse

Words for ghastly people

ghoul

scarecrow

gargoyle

Suggestion

I think a two-word phrase with alliteration might do it, e.g. "studious scarecrow"

I'm sure others can think of better ones.

  • Wizened wizard? – Chris H Jul 10 '15 at 13:06
  • Thank you very much for your input, Chasly; it does help. Due to the needs of what I'm writing, I would prefer to stick to a one word. Open to what you mentioned about a two-word substantive with alliteration, but the chances of that “feeling” right are slim to the requirements of what I'm writing. – Rok Jul 10 '15 at 17:24
  • @ChrisH Oldbag above is the first one who suggested “wizened” and I actually love it. I explain in a comment above why, even if it does not denote the studious part besides the frailty, it still connotes it, even if the mere sound of the word. – Rok Jul 10 '15 at 17:36
  • @Rok I thought I'd take on the alliteration challenge in the answer using the suggestions in the comments. – Chris H Jul 10 '15 at 20:23
  • @ChrisH Oh, that makes perfect sense! Yes, “wizened wizard” is indeed [the] perfect alliteration for the direct, almost exact meaning I was talking about. Thank you. – Rok Jul 11 '15 at 20:13
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That sounds like a typical necromancer in fantasy fiction.

  • Necromancers may be stereotypically scrawny, ghastly and wise; but scrawny, ghastly and wise people are not typically necromancers. – sumelic Jul 10 '15 at 22:20
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    @vladkornea Thank you! What sumelic said is very true; necromancer is not suitable for my specific need only because it will suggest involvement in rituals like reanimating the dead, etc. However, I wish I had rep of 15 to upvote your contribution, because I didn't think about it this way until you mentioned necromancer. I loved the feeling that I'm understanding what I'm talking about from a new perspective, so thank you! – Rok Jul 11 '15 at 20:10

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