Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday: Favorite Read - THE WORD MUSEUM

A book that I dip into every now and then. Not a book to read in one fell swoop - more a book meant for a bit of fun research. But only if you're interested in the English language and its various perambulations.

THE WORD MUSEUM The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk

Okay, I'm just going to dive right in and post some of my favorite FORGOTTEN words and their meanings: My editorial comments are in blue. And before you get all eagle-eyed on me, some of the words are not - strictly - in alphabetical order.

agglutinants: Those medicines which have the power of uniting parts together. (Who knew you could glue body parts together? Think of the fun you passed up. Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

ambidexter: It is intended by this Latin word to designate one who plays both sides. In a legal sense it is taken for a juror or embraceor who takes money from both parties for giving his verdict. This is seldom or never done in the United States. (Of course not.)

antipodes: People who live on the other side of the earth to us, going with their feet directly against ours.

answer jobber: One who makes a trade of writing answers. (Hey, that sounds like... like - BLOGGING! We're 'answer jobbers'. Who knew?

babies in the eyes: The miniature reflection of himself which a person sees in the pupil of another's eye on looking closely into it.

ballop: The old name for the flap in the forepart of the breeches which is buttoned up; in English, formerly called the cod-piece. (No comment and I emphasize, NO comment.)

batterfanged: Beaten and beclawed, as a termagant will fight with her fists and nails... see clapperclaw.

beggars' velvet: Downey particles which accumulate under furniture from the negligence of housemaids. (The offending maid would obviously need to be butterfanged.)

bellitude: Beauty of person; loveliness; elegance; neatness.

bedfellow: It was formerly customary for men, even of the hightest rank to sleep together, and the term bedfellow implies great intimacy...Cromwell is said to have obtained much of his intelligence during the civil wars from common men with whom he slept. (How come they never taught us this in history class?)

biblioklept: A book-thief; one who purloins or steals books.

bibliothecary: Keeper of a library.

bubulcitate: To cry like a cow boy.

cabobble: To mystify, puzzle, confuse.

crunkle: To creake like a crane. (Don't even know what the meaning means. But I like the sound of the word.)

crapulous: Surcharged with liquor; sick by intemperence.

croodle: To snuggle, a young animal snuggles against its mother.

clamberskull: Strong drink that clambers up to the skull...

dog-draw: One of four causes by which a man may be arrested as a deer-stealer.

death-hunter: Persons who go from village to village, as a burial occurs, carrying small black stools called buffets, on which the coffin is rested while the funeral hymn is being sung in open air, in front of the house where the corpse has lain. (It never occurred to anyone to, maybe, fashion their own little stools to keep around the house in case of, I don't know...a death?)

disquixotted: Disillusioned.

errorist: One who errs, or encourages and propagates error. (Instantly springs
to mind: Bush the errorist. Who knew?)

exlex: An outlaw. (Not the first thing I'd have thought of.)

flattybouch: One who goes from place to place in a van during the summer months, but lives in a houe during the winter.

gardyloo: A cry which servants in the higher stories of Edinburgh give, after 10 o'clock at night, when they throw their dirty water from the window. (No sane comment is possible.)

giggle-trot: A woman who marries when she is far advanced in life...

idle-worms: Worms bred in the fingers of lazy girls, an ancient notion...It was supposed, and the notion was probably encouraged for the sake of promoting female industry, then when maidens were idle, worms bred in their fingers...! (Now we know how women became the workers they are: fear of worms!)

man-browed: Having hair growing between the eyebrows.

married all over: Said of women who, after their marriages, fall in their appearance and become poor and miserable looking. (Never said of men, of course.)

merry-go-sorry: A mixture of laughing and crying.

peccable: Liable to sin.

pixilated: Led astray, as if by pixies; confused, bewildered. (Been there. Done that.)

quanked: Overpowered by fatigue. (I'm often quanked at the end of the blogging day.)

swazz: To swagger.

trinkle: To eavesdrop.

tweeny-maid: A servant who assisted both cook and housemaid.

vomitory: A door of a large building by which the crowd is let out. (No comment. Though I'm dying to make one.)

weatherspy: A stargazer, astrologer, wizard.

There are plenty more where these came from. Read the book. Check out the website. It's a lot of fun. Some of these words are so preposterous that they entertain in and of themselves. Some are just downright funny. Some, infuriating. Some, just plain mean. Some just plain 'flarting'.

Here's the scary part for me: I actually knew what some of these words meant. C'mon, I'm NOT that old.

Damn me, if I'm not 'quanked' and the day not even over yet.


  1. Ooooh, I like this! I love words... now if only I could remember all of the ones I am constantly looking up!

  2. Wallace: Some of these are so bizzaro that all you can do is shake your head in wonder. Ha!

  3. "bubulcitate: To cry like a cow boy"

    Hey, where I come from there ain't no such thing as a cryin' cowboy, pardner. What the...?

    These were great. If you read Moby Dick you would've learned a little bit more about bedfellows and even the old courtship ritual of bundling. And this between two men.

    So nice to see your award up so high in a place of honor! I kind of buried mine. Falsely modest? Maybe.

  4. John: I have a feeling that 'cow boy' (notice it's two words) is used in the older English connotation to mean, literally - a boy that takes care of cows. But as to why they would cry, I have no idea. I love this sort of stuff.

    I've read a bit of MOBY DICK, not too much. Never could get through it. Did read about the 'bundling' thing and thought it odd. But then, I figured, oh well...I know that Lincoln also had gone through this 'ritual'. Hence the rumors started about him a couple of years ago. Who knows?

    I'm keeping the award up there for now, just to show it off. But eventually I may move it a bit futher down. I'm always shifting things around as the mood hits.

    Thanks again, John. ;)

  5. Amen about Moby Dick!

    Thank you for this post. I was having a crappy day and this just brightened it all back up.

  6. Oh Ryan: I'm glad my post brightened your attack of the dismals. Hope you're feeling better. :)

    Aren't these words too much?? Some of them, I mean - HA!


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