What does “callipygian” mean?

Dear Cecil:

Why am I having a hard time finding the word "callipygian" in the dictionary? No one I ask seems to know what it means.

Cecil replies:

Dear Kurt:

Great word, callipygian. Means “having shapely buttocks.” As opposed to steatopygous, or “fat-arsed.” Lends that essential touch of class to your locker-room conversations. The reason you can’t find it is you’re looking in the wrong place. Try Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words by Josefa Heifetz Byrne, a landmark reference work this column has often recommended in the past. Where else could you find gems like hircine, “goatlike, especially in smell,” or hircismus, “the condition of having stinky armpits”?

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

Comment on this Column