Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Odd Words...

Words, words, words. So many of them, so little time to include them all in novels. I'm fond of thinking of words in my writing much as an artist regards colors. Words do give color to prose; convey emotion, depth, can paint of picture of a beautiful clear day or a stormy day, just by the author's choice.

So, being fond of wordsmithing, I went looking for Odd Words and found this terrific site: World Wide Words. The author of this site is Michael Quinion. All quotes below are attributed to the author and site listed in this paragraph, and are used for the sole purpose of defining the odd words I've chosen for this post. Bibliography at the end of this post, and I've provided a link to the webpage for each word I've spotlighted at the end of each paragraph. From this site, I've found some terrific (and truly odd, some out of use) words.

Absquatulate: I've seen this word before, and it's tickled my funny bone before. It means: "To make off, decamp, or abscond." "Absquatulate has had a good run and is still to be found in modern American dictionaries. It was common enough that it became one of the favourite bĂȘtes noires of writers on style in the latter part of the century." For more about this terrific word, CLICK HERE.

Callithumpian: I could've used this word in *Meant to Be*! Woe, the lost opportunity! It means: "Relating to a band of discordant instruments or a noisy parade." "Callithumpian is first noted in America in 1836..." and has many suggested origins. My favorite origin theory: "it’s also been said to be a blend of calliope and thump, which sounds plausible as an evocation of a noisy fairground atmosphere..." For more about this word, CLICK HERE.

Egyptian Days: When *bad day* or *day from h*ll* doesn't cut the mustard for describing your horrible day, then you've had an "Egyptian Day." It means: "Days of ill-omen or evil." "As far back as the historical record can be traced, we know that certain days have been thought to be unlucky. In medieval times they were often listed in calendars as the dies Aegyptiaci, the Egyptian days, since they were supposed to have been identified by Egyptian astrologers, considered to be authorities on such matters." For more information about this forboding phrase, CLICK HERE.

Frigorific: Writing a spooky or a paranormal? This is the word for you. It means: "Causing cold; chilling." "A search through a database of recent newspaper articles suggests strongly that the most common appearance of frigorific is in that characteristically American phenomenon, the spelling bee." For more information, CLICK HERE.

Lollygag: I love this word. Love the little scene in *Bull Durham* where the coach is yelling at the players, "You lollygag out onto the field, you lollygag off the field. You lollygag to the showers. Do you know what that makes you? Tell 'em." Assistant coach says, "Lollygaggers." Coach: "LOLLYGAGGERS!..." It means: "To fool around; to spend time aimlessly; to dawdle or dally." But it may also have another meaning: "it sometimes has a subsidiary meaning of “to indulge in kisses and caresses”... For more information, don't be a lollygagger, CLICK HERE.

Go check out the World Wide Words webbie for more weird words! So many weird words. It's great.

Source: World Wide Webs, http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/index.htm. Michael Quinion. July 1, 2008.

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