Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Return of Word Nerd

Finial on the Rose Pavilion in the Botanic Gardens

Remember I said I was engrossed in a book about some crazy American reading the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary? It took him a year to plough through the OED but I knocked over his book about it in a few days - or very late nights, to be precise. A vast difference to the last book I read which I chipped away at for months.

Anyway, here are my favourites of Ammon Shea's pet words listed Reading The OED:

Artolater: a worshipper of bread.

Antithalian: opposed to fun or festivity. A stick in the mud. Funny saying that....

Acnestis: the point of the back on animals between the shoulders and the lower back which cannot be reached to scratch. Or, in other words, the place where I am always itchy, dagnammit.

Adversperate: to approach evening. From the same root word as one of my new favourite words,
vespertine, meaning twilight or dim or of animals that come out at dusk. As an aside, animals that come out before dawn or early in the morning are matutinal.

Aerumnous: full of trouble

All-overish: feeling an undefined sense of unwell that extends to the whole body. I used to use NQR (not quite right) to describe this feeling, but not anymore.

Bouffage: an enjoyable or satisfying meal. Try that one at your next dinner party. "Well, I must say, Barbara, that was a delightful bouffage."

Cachinator: one who laughs too loud or too long. Shea also lists grinagog - a person who is constantly grinning- and hypergelast - a person who will not stop laughing.

Fard: to apply cosmetics to hide blemishes. Says Shea: "I suspect there is a reason no one ever gets up from the table and says, 'Excuse me while I go to the ladies and fard'."

Gaum: to stare stupidly.

Jocoserious: half-joking and half serious. Obviously. I love that this sounds like a silly word someone made up but it's actually in the dictionary. Speaking of made up words, I may or may not have mentioned the word I made up to for something that's not quite blue and not quite purple - blurple. The other day a friend (Hello, Stephanie!) told me she saw blurple used in a catalogue to describe that very thing! One day I want to see blurple in the dictionary. Start using it, people!

Latibulate: to hide oneself in a corner.

Misdelight:
pleasure in something wrong.

Mumpish: sullenly angry.

Nod-crafty: given to nodding the head with an air of great wisdom. In other words, looking smart without necessarily being so.

Onomatomania: vexation at having difficulty finding the right word.

Petrichor: The pleasant loamy smell of rain on the ground, especially after a long dry spell.

Ploiter: to work in an ineffective way.

Preantepenult: third from last. For when simple words won't do.

Psithurism: the whispering of leaves moved by wind. Pleasingly onomatopoeic.

Scrouge: anyone travelling on packed public transport such has we have in Melbourne will be able to use this word every day. It means to inconvenience or discomfort someone by pressing against them or standing too close.

Sialoquent: to spit while talking.

Tardiloquent: talking slowly. This describes a client at work very well.

Twi-thought: my head is full of these - it's a vague and indistinctive thought.

Unasinous: being equal to another in stupidity

And finally...

Vocabularian:
a person who pays too much attention to words. What the? That's like having a word for someone who pays too much attention to breathing.

9 comments:

Jayne said...

And now I feel slightly over-whelmed with words lol.

Off topic - your RSS feed is off again, sorry.

Frisky Librarian said...

Best you don't attempt reading the dictionary then. At the end of the book, Shea exhorts his readers to pick up a dictionary. Not necessarily to read the whole thing, but perhaps parts of it - Q perhaps. I almost felt inspired...

Yeah, I noticed it was off. I don't know why - or why it comes good and goes off again - or how to fix it. Stupid thing.

dam buster said...

Gold FL - If only I could remember all those words to appear witty.. Is there a word for someone who tries to use witty words but ends up tongue twisted??

Fantastic Forrest said...

Those crazy Americans! :-)

victoria said...

i love love love 'bouffage' - that is a truly awesome word!

loving 'ploiter' too :)

Julian said...

Artolater: I'm very amused that there's such a thing as a worshipper of bread. :)

Blurple: *L* I like that! I'll see what I can do. ;)

Onomatomania: I'll have to try remembering this one, because I know it happens to me!

Vocabularian: Now here's the funny thing. Back when I was younger, you would've needed a word to describe someone who pays too much attention to breathing to describe me! I went through a phase when I occasionally quite literally became so aware of my breathing that I couldn't just let myself breathe regularly.

I found a word today that I liked, so naturally I thought of you. It's "prolepsis" (believe it or not, I discovered it while studying computer programming :P ). There are a few possible meanings for it, but the one that stood out for me was: "Rhetoric. The anticipation of possible objections in order to answer them in advance." This is something I like doing sometimes, hence the interest. :)

Stephanie said...

Hello! :)
I love psithurism, it sounds perfect for what it describes.
I love randomly finding great words in the dictionary but I always forget them again pretty much straight away.
I remembered the word crepuscular the other evening as I watched the sun set but couldn't for the life of me think of vespertine, so thanks for reminding me!

Frisky Librarian said...

Hey db. Yes, I know what you mean about remembering the words. I'm often left thinking, "I know there's a word for that. I read it just the other day!". Don't know on the tongue twister one though.

I'm conflicted on the merits of actually using any of these words in conversation because I think there's a risk you'll end up looking like a tool. Shea himself says he doesn't necessarily aim to use the words - he gets a buzz out of just knowing them and thinking them to himself.

Hey FF. Yes, indeed!

Hey Victoria. Do you think it's pronounced 'bouffahj' or 'bouffij'. I'd go for the former. There's no guide to pronunciation in the book, partly because the proper pronunciation of some words has been lost in the mists of time, even to the OED.

Hey Julian. Yes, who'da thought? I mean, I like bread, but I don't bow down before it.

Er...did you have therapy for that breathing fixation?

Thanks for the new word.

Hey Stephanie. I like that too and often forget the words I find also, although one that stuck in my mind is ignipotent, which means in control of fire.

I'm starting to think I should collect all of these words I've blogged and create my own book of words. Then I can study it every night and never be lost for a word again!

Alison said...

A bit off topic - but did you see the article in the Drive section of Saturday's Age called "Motor mouth"? Not a section I normally quote but with words like menoporsche (the car men buy for their mid-life crisis) and carbage (the junk that collects in your car), it amused me.