Good morning and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was spent relaxing and recuperating. The most productive thing I did for two days (other than producing Saturday’s blog post) was to get my hair cut (which was sorely needed).
The good news is that I feel good! Yay for antibiotics! Better living through pharmacology – that’s my motto. “Pharmacology”. Now, there’s a good word. It rolls off the tongue and when used in a sentence makes the speaker or writer seem intelligent. I’m all for that.
I love words. I am a self-professed word-nerd. My linguistic obsession predates my desire to write them down in collected patterns sometimes referred to as a novel, since I’ve been reading a lot longer than I’ve been writing.
I like learning new words and I have no objection to looking one up if I run across a word I don’t know. I subscribe to Dictionary.com’s word-of-the-day and I have a calendar on my desk here in my office. I also like to insert these new words into conversation, though I have been accused of lexiphanicism*.
What I find really fascinating is how some words fall in and out of favor. I’m not talking about the pop-culture words or phrases that both the Oxford English and Merriam-Webster dictionaries add every year. I mean the now archaic words that sites like Grandiloquent Word of the Day unearth for our amusement.
For instance, one recent entry was “flapdoodle”, which means “words or ideas that are foolish and untrue”. Now, why on earth would we ever stop using that one? It’s fun to say and lord knows there has never been a shortage of such a thing in the history of mankind. I say we bring it back. Your mission is to insert flapdoodle into every conversation in which it’s relevant, from now on. It worked for kerfuffle!
Kerfuffle, a noun meaning disorder, commotion or agitation, is a word, popular in the 1940s and 50s, that had fallen by the wayside, except by Brits. In recent years it’s made a comeback. We here at SS&S use it all the time, but I also see it in print and even heard it used on the national news not too long ago.
Another of our favorites is swivet (a state of nervous excitement, haste, or anxiety; flutter). If I didn’t know what it meant, I might think it was a small malodorous animal related to the skunk. (Don’t ask me why, that’s just what I picture.) Thesaurus.com doesn’t even recognize this word! It can be parsed out and one can find synonyms for all of its pieces, but why would you want to use any of them when there’s one great word that encapsulates them all?
My point is, there are millions of words in the English language alone (although they all have roots in other languages), so why not mix it up a little? Why should we keep using the same ones over and over again? Have some fun. There are a lot of choices on the Cheesecake Factory menu, but if you ate there every night, you would eventually get tired of it, right?
Four years ago, Buzzfeed compiled this list of obsolete words that they believe we should endeavor to bring back. This is a good place to start:
Meaning: To silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them.
As in: It’s hard to enjoy your meal when the guy opposite is groaking you the whole time.
Meaning: To act in a secretive manner.
As in: I’m sick of all these sneaky types, creeping around and hugger-muggering the whole time.
Meaning: To feel ill because of excessive eating/drinking.
As in: Blerg. The morning after St. Patrick’s Day. I feel crapulous.
Meaning: Sullen. An alternative to grumpy.
As in: I’m hungover, and I’ve got a ton of work to do. Think I’m allowed to be grumpish.
Meaning: Freshly melted snow.
As in: Yesterday we woke up to a perfect carpet of white, but now it’s just snowbroth.
Meaning: To confuse, bamboozle.
As in: I don’t get string theory. It utterly jargogles my brain.
Meaning: The sun’s warmth on a cold winter’s day.
As in: Even in darkest December you sometimes get a moment of beautiful apricity.
Meaning: To gossip, or talk idly.
As in: I wish you’d quit twattling and get on with your work.
Meaning: Tangled hair, as if matted by elves.
As in: Jeez, dude, look at the state of those elflocks — have you not heard of a comb?
Meaning: To have a paralyzing or mesmerizing effect on someone.
Origin: Early 17th century
As in: Don’t look into his eyes. He’s so charismatic, you’ll be gorgonized.
Meaning: A little man with a high opinion of himself.
As in: He’s a boastful shortarse. Total cockalorum.
Meaning: A good-looking person.
Meaning: Slang term for a fat person.
Meaning: The shock one feels upon first plunging into cold water.
Origin: Scots, 1800s
As in: Those outdoor swimmers must have balls of steel to cope with that kind of curglaff.
Meaning: To argue loudly about something inconsequential.
As in: I can’t stand Question Time, it always descends into brabbling.
Meaning: An alternative to twilight.
Origin: Early 1600s
As in: London is at its most beautiful by twitter-light.
Meaning: Stupid, imbecilic.
As in: The Only Way Is Essex is a TV show for the terminally beef-witted.
Meaning: Wonderful and extraordinary.
As in: The Breaking Bad finale was every bit as monsterful as I’d hoped.
Meaning: Having beautifully shaped buttocks.
As in: I admire Beyoncé for her musical talent. The fact she is highly callipygian is neither here nor there.
Meaning: To make drunk, intoxicate.
As in: It’s never a good idea to operate heavy machinery while fuzzled.
Meaning: A wooden puppet, controlled by strings.
As in: The president has no real power, he is a mere quockerwodger.
Meaning: The seemingly malevolent behaviour displayed by inanimate objects.
As in: That water bottle looks like it wants to kill me. It exhibits resistentialism.
Meaning: The fear of oblivion.
As in: I’m terrified the world is about to end. I am lethophobic.
Meaning: A slovenly, slobbering person.
As in: Look at that sluberdegullion, sprawled on the sofa with his tongue lolling out.
Meaning: A low rumbling sound produced by the bowels.
As in: Nothing worse than audibly curmuring during a job interview.
Meaning: Heavy rain.
Origin: Early 1900s
As in: Christ, it’s absolutely lumming down.
So, how do you feel about all of this? Anyone else consider themselves to be a “word collector”? Do you have a favorite seldom-heard word that you like to slip into conversation or writing?
In any case, I hope you have a ripping week!
*-The use of excessively learned and bombastic vocabulary or phraseology in a pretentious
and showy fashion.
-An instance or example of such vocabulary or phraseology.
-The habit of using a pompous or turgid style in speaking or writing.
-The use of pretentious words, language, or style.