I know the word tottie as a slang expression for a good looking teenage girl,
especially one that is a tease or dressed to look older than she is.
However, when I came across 'totties' in a Thomas Hardy book it was used to mean 'feet' according to the book note on the expression 'me totties be cold'. Perhaps it was a dialect term for feet in the South but the note brought from the deep recesses of my mind a vague remembrance that totties referred to toes here in the North. Any comments on this use of the term would be welcome.
As a noun, nonce means for the time being, temporarily, the present, or immediate, occasion or purpose (usually used in the phrase "for the nonce"). A slightly archaic term.
As an adjective it is used of a word or expression used on one occasion: "a nonce usage". I wasn't sure I fully understood this meaning until I read the following in the Wikipedia:- A nonce word is a word used only "for the nonce"—to meet a need that is not expected to recur. Quark, for example, was formerly a nonce word in English, appearing only in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Murray Gell-Mann then adopted it to name a new class of subatomic particle. The use of the term nonce word in this way was apparently the work of James Murray, the influential editor of Oxford English Dictionary.
Eidetic (pronounced eye-det-ik) is an adjective meaning of, pertaining to, or constituting visual imagery vividly experienced and readily reproducible with great accuracy and in great detail. Relating to or denoting mental images having unusual vividness and detail, as if actually visible.
The word can also be used as a noun for a person who is able to to form or recall eidetic images.
I remember that at school we envied my friend George who could read pages of a history book and recall them almost word for word - even knowning where on the page any particular fact lay.
I'm not sure if it has an antonymn but it's the opposite of what my brother, GB, experiences - he has difficulty visualising things!
I like visit my fellow bloglings on Alphabet Wednesday. Apart from anything else there are a couple who often introduce me to new words. One of those this week was Jo in Australia who gave me Reckling.
A reckling is the smallest or weakest of the litter. There are many similar words, especially used among the farming communities of different areas of the country and the world. One of the most popular is runt but reckling sounds a lot less unattractive. (Yes, I know that was a double negative but ‘a lot more attractive’ didn’t sound quite right).
My Dad used to describe himself as the runt of the litter because he was the last and so much smaller than his siblings. He remained fitter than them all throughout his life and died at the age of 93!
At one time I had a list of such words that I had collected during my wanders among the dialects of the UK but I seem to have lost it. I recall that nubbin and picayune (a word of US origin that somehow found its way to rural England) were among them. Any more would be welcome if you can contribute!
It can also be used as an adjective when it is slang for quality, a cockney term for something good. usually accompanied with a hand action of slapping your index finger against the stationery thumb and middle finger.
A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or re-interpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.
You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
Thanks to this blogling for leading me to a new word!
Some more examples:-
I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station. I didn't say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you. Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America? Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
A logophile is what anyone who reads this blog is likely to be - a lover of words.
"I am a lifelong logophile if not an out-and-out verbivore. I have a good ear and a good memory for words, it's just a kind of tic or trick, the way some lucky people can play a song by ear after hearing it once or count cards at blackjack or spot four-leaf clovers. Unusual and specialized words tend to lodge in my mind, where they hang around, often for years, until I need them."
(Michael Chabon, The New York Times, Feb. 8, 2007)"
Obequitate - an obsolete intransitive verb meaning to ride about [from the Latin obequitatus , past participle of obequitare to ride about]. The noun, obequitation - is also obsolete. A shame, I fancy a bit of obequitation on a sunny day.
A sluggard is a lazy, indolent person; sxomeone who is perpetually idle or slothful.
"'Tis the voice of the sluggard;
I heard him complain,
You have waked me too soon,
I must slumber again."
Watts - the Divine Songs
In informal British English, something or someone who has gone for a Burton is missing, permanently broken, ruined or destroyed.
The original sense was to meet one’s death, a slang term in the RAF in World War Two for pilots who were killed in action. Its first recorded appearance in print was in the New Statesman on 30 August 1941.
It's exact origin is obscure and many different versions have been put forward. The most favoured is that it was a way of avoiding referring to someone having been killed by suggesting they had only slipped out for a Beer. Burton's being one of the biggest Breweries at that time and Burton-on-Trent being the home of a number of other breweries. In addition, someone who downed their plane in the water was 'in the drink'. (There is also a hint of rhyming slang in there - Burton-on-Trent - went.)
Allegedly there was a series of advertisements for beer in the inter-war years which featured a group of people with one obviously missing, such as a football team of ten players. The tagline suggested the missing person had just popped out for a beer. The slogan was then taken up by RAF pilots for one of their number missing in action as a typical example of wartime sick humour. Whether these adverts ever existed is questionable.
It was quite a common expression in 'my day’ but perhaps it has fallen into disuse becauwe my daughter didn't recognise it when I used it recently. It’s a sad sign when expressions one is still using become ‘archaic’!
Weasand is another word for the throat; the oesophagus (the throat in general); the gullet; the organ in vertebrates which consists of a muscular tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. The word weasand has been in use since before 1000 AD.
A rarely used term nowadays, hymeneals is a noun meaning wedding; the social event at which the ceremony of marriage is performed. It was a commonly used term in Victorian times. In the singular - hymeneal - it was more frequently used to refer to a wedding song or poem.
The hymen is the membraneous tissue that partly covers the entrance to the vagina of a virgin. The word comes from the Greek for membrane and Hymen was the Greek God of marriage.
I have been reading a lot of Victorian literature of late and quite often have come across the term extinguisher meaning a piece of street furniture found outside the front doorways of the rich and middle classes.
The extinguisher was for use by link men. These were men who carried blazing torches to escort people along the streets. After a party there would be a number of link men waiting at the door for their 'owner'. Once they arrived at their destination they would extinguish their torch on the extinguisher to save it for their next task.
I have looked all over the place in Liverpool but cannot find anthing that looks as though it could be an extinguisher. Were they mobile - bins full of sand or something of that sort? If not I wonder what happened to them all.
A credence table or credence-table was originally a type of small table used for storing food before serving; generally a semi-circular table with a hinged top. Oak and walnut were popular woods for credence tables.
In their earliest days they were where the food-taster would check for poison because after he had done his tasting the food was always within sight of the diners.
Nowadays credence table is more commonly used to refer to the table(s) at the front of the sanctuary upon which communion ware, offering plates, or other worship service items are placed; the table or ledge on which the bread, wine, etc., are placed before being consecrated in the Eucharist.
Inexpressibles - During the Victorian era it was not considered polite for a lady to describe gentlemen as wearing breeches so they were called inexpressibles. Although the word was occasionally used for women's underwear it was far more frequently used for men's outer legwear - breeches or trousers.
By contrast the word more likely to be used nowadays - unmentionables - is far more usually appled to ladies' underwear.
After this, there was a good deal of dodging about, and hitching up of the inexpressibles in the absence of braces, and then the short sailor (who was the moral character evidently, for he always had the best of it) made a violent demonstration and closed with the tall sailor, who, after a few unavailing struggles, went down, and expired in great torture as the short sailor put his foot upon his breast, and bored a hole in him through and through.
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Dickens, Charles
I had barely the time, as he made for the cabin door, to grab him by the seat of his inexpressibles.
Falk - A Reminiscence by Conrad, Joseph
A French dictionary defines inexpressibles as follows - Mot anglais dit par euphémisme pour culotte, pantalon, et employé quelquefois en ce sens en français par plaisanterie (An English word spoken as a euphemism for pants or trousers and sometimes used jokingly in this sense in French.)
Apothecary (pronounced /əˈpɒθɨkɛəri/) is a historical name for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients — a role now served by a pharmacist (or a chemist or dispensing chemist). To my delight a chemist shop in Inverary had this sign...
The collective noun for Starlings is a charm. I could think of no less appropriate term for a flock of raucous, squabbling unattractive birds. However upon reading Richard Jeffries' 'Wildlife in a Southern County' all is revealed:-
“On approaching it this apparent cloud is found to consist of thousands of starlings, the noise of whose calling to each other is indescribable - the country folk call it a 'charm', meaning a noise made up of innumerable lesser sounds, each interfering with the other. The vastness of these flocks is hardly credible until seen; in winter the bare trees on which they alight become suddenly quite black.”
An uzzle-pye was a medieval extravaganza rather than food. Uzzle-pyes were baked with temporary contents which were then removed to be replaced by tethered birds which would settle down in the dark. When the pie was opened the birds began to sing... Sometimes they'd not be tethered and would fly free the moment the crust was broken; often putting out the candles and causing general chaos, to the delight of the host.
To fribble means to act in a foolish or frivolous manner; to trifle.
A fribbler sounds like a candidate for counselling but it was actually an eighteenth century term for a man who expressed profound infatuation for a woman but was unwilling to commit himself to her...... (Perhaps he did need counselling, after all.)
Scandaroon - a large variety of fancy pigeon having a long thin body and an elongated neck and head [from Scandaroon the former name of Ishenderon or Iskanderun a seaport in Turkey]; also an old name for a carrier pigeon and a swindler.
Financier Nathan Rothschild learned of the success at Waterloo in 1815 by scandaroon (carrier pigeon) and falsely hinted that the battle - and England's future - was lost thereby sending stocks tumbling. He bought lots of the artificially deflated slocks and then made a killing when the news of success came through and their price went back up. Strangely, although scandaroon came to mean a swindler it was nothing to do with that episode but because of the sordid reputation of Iskanderun - the Turkish seaport.
I always thought necessary was an adjective -and only an adjective. As such it means being essential, indispensable, or requisite.
I thought the noun was necessity but it turns out that necessary is also a noun - something necessary or requisite; a necessity.
Some people have problems spelling necessary. I pointed out the other day that I membered it by saying "It is necessary to have one collar and two studs". It was pointed out to me that the modern generation wouldn't know anything about collar studs - good point!
To disambiguate means to remove the ambiguity from; make unambiguous: In order to disambiguate the sentence “She lectured on the famous passenger ship,” you'll have to write either “lectured on board” or “lectured about.”
Matutinal is an adjective meaning pertaining to or occurring in the morning; early in the day. It comes from the Latin matutinalis which meant early or beloning to the morning. Matut was a Goddess of the Dawn.
Matutemia or matutemea is mrning sickness or morning vomiting during pregnancy.
I guess most people are aware that a goose is a big fluffy, feathery thing that either floats around lakes or sits in gravy at Christmas. Technically - A large waterbird (esp. the genera Anser and Branta), with a long neck, short legs, webbed feet, and a short broad bill. Generally geese are larger than ducks and have longer necks and shorter bills.
Goose can be used specifically to mean the female of the bird whose male is called a gander.
But how many of its other meanings are you aware of?
Anything that energizes, strengthens, or the like: to give the economy a badly needed goose.
A tailor's smoothing iron with a curved handle.
An obsolete board game played with dice and counters in which a player whose cast falls in a square containing the picture of a goose is allowed to advance double the number of his or her throw.
Goose are also a Belgian electro rock band. Bet you didn't know that one!
To goose (slang) - to poke someone between the buttocks.
To goose - to prod or urge to action or an emotional reaction.
To goose - to strengthen or improve (often followed by up ): Let's goose up the stew with some wine.
To goose - to increase; raise (often followed by up ): to goose up government loans in weak industries.
To goose - to give a spurt of fuel to (a motor) to increase speed.
Goose - an affectionate term for a close member of the opposite sex (or a younger member of one's own) - often meaning that they were silly but in a pleasant way.
To cook someone's goose - to ruin someone's hopes, plans, chances, etc.: His goose was cooked when they found the stolen gems in his pocket.
All his geese are swans - he constantly exaggerates the importance of a person or thing.
A wild goose chase - an unsuccessful hunt for something.
Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs - to sacrifice future benefits for the sake of momentary present needs.
Goose step - originally (1806) was a military drill to teach balance; "to stand on each leg alternately and swing the other back and forth" (which, presumably, reminded someone of a goose's way of walking); in reference to "marching without bending the knees" (as in Nazi military reviews) it apparently is first recorded 1916.
What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander - What is suitable for a woman is suitable for a man or, more broadly, what is good enough for one person is good enough for the other.
A thesmothete was originally one of the six junior archons at Athens. Archon is a Greek word that means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. The word thesmothete has now come to mean someone who lays down the law, a lawgiver or a legislator.
The term factoid is sometimes used to mean a trivial fact but its correct meaning is "an item of unreliable information that is repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact" (Oxford English Dictionary ).
A factoid, according to Wikipedia, is a questionable or spurious—unverified, incorrect, or fabricated—statement presented as a fact, but with no veracity. The word can also be used to describe a particularly insignificant or novel fact, in the absence of much relevant context.
Factoid was coined by Norman Mailer in his 1973 biography of Marilyn Monroe. Mailer described a factoid as "facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper", and created the word by combining the word fact and the ending -oid to mean "similar but not the same". The Washington Times described Mailer's new word as referring to "something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact". CNN's Headline News incorporated factoids into its half-hour newscast in the early 1990s under the direction of Jon Petrovich.
Factoids may give rise to, or arise from, common misconceptions and urban legends.
A pelisse (sometimes spelled with one s - pelise) was originally a short fur lined or fur trimmed jacket that was usually worn hanging loose over the left shoulder of hussar light cavalry soldiers, ostensibly to prevent sword cuts. It was fastened there using a lanyard.
During Victorian times the word was used for a fur lined or fur robe or gown; or a woman's silk gown lined or trimmed with fur; an overgarment worn by Victorian children when outside; or an outdoor fitted garment for women, ankle-length, and often with a collar and cuffs at the wrist. In other words it seems almost as if anything you wore could be called a pelisse!
An ennead is a group or set of nine, as GB and I discovered recently having tried to fit 'noctet' into the answer to a crossword clue!
The original Ennead (Greek ἐννεάς, meaning a collection of nine things) was a group of nine deities in Egyptian mythology. The Ennead were worshipped at Heliopolis and consisted of the god Atum, his children Shu and Tefnut, their children Geb and Nut and their children Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys.
To apostrophise is to address an exclamatory passage in a speech or poem to (someone or something); to punctuate (a word) with an apostroph; or to rebuke or reprimand; or to blame. With all those meanings it works hard for its living does apostrophise!.
A tippet is a stole or scarf-like narrow piece of clothing, worn around the arms and above the elbow. They evolved in the fourteenth century from long sleeves and typically had one end hanging down to the knees. In Victorian times the name tippet came to commonly mean a woman's fur shoulder cape with hanging ends; often consisting of the whole fur of a fox or marten.
The colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis), also known as bitter apple, bitter cucumber, egusi, or vine of Sodom, is a viny plant native to the Mediterranean Basin, North Africa, and Asia, especially Turkey. Its pulp is used to make a purgative. I love the idea of something being called the Vine of Sodom!
Not to be confused with the coelacanth - A large, bony marine fish (Latimeria chalumnae, family Latimeriidae) with a three-lobed tail fin and fleshy pectoral fins, found chiefly around the Comoro Islands. It was known only from fossils until one was found alive in 1938.
Don't you just love it! I couldn't resist doing a second word blog today when I came across this 'word' on an Amazon advert -
"Free (and semi-free) Literary Classics for the Kindle (US & UK) by Marilyn Knapp Litt - Avid Reader (Kindle Edition - 18 Mar 2011)".
I wouldn't bother searching your dictionary - I doubt it's word that's going to catch on.
Pipkin sounds a lovely name for a pet but it weas actually a small earthenware pot. A pipkin is an earthenware cooking pot used for cooking over direct heat from coals or a wood fire. They have a handle and three feet. Late medieval and postmedieval pipkins had a hollow handle in order to insert a stick in it for manipulation.
A Pipkin Fracture is a fracture of femoral head in association with posterior dislocation of hip.
When I first came across the wrod wuphuism I thought it was probably just another form of the word euphemism (an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh), especially as it fitted the context. In fact the two are not related at all.
Euphuism means an affected bombastic style of language; high-flown diction; a flowery, affected type of writing. It is so called from "Euphues,or the Anatomy of Wit," (1578) and "Euphues and his England," works of Sir John Lyly's written in that style.
This affected style of conversation and writing was fashionable for some time in the court of Queen Elizabeth and the main character in Lyly's works is a fashionable young man named Euphues. The style in which the book is written is full of convoluted sentences, rhetorical questions, alliteration, and references to classical literature with which educated people were assumed to be familiar.
Most of my fiction reading is from the mid Nineteenth century at the moment so I'm coming across lots of lovely sounding words which have fallen out of use. Compunctious, for example, has appeared a couple of times. Isn't it a great sounding word! It means pertaining to compunctions, scruples, feelings of guilt or remorse. So, for example, "He ignored her compunctious blush."
A perron is an out-of-door flight of steps, for example in a garden, leading to a terrace or to an upper story. The term is usually applied to mediaeval or later structures of some architectural pretensions.
Chintz is calico cloth printed with flowers and other devices in different colors; a brightly printed and glazed cotton fabric. The word Calico is derived from the name of the Indian city Calicut (Kozhikkode in native Malayalam) to which it had a manufacturing association.
In recent times the term chintzy has come to mean embarassingly stingy; tastelessly showy; cheap and tacky; or gaudy. I gather chintz has come down in the world since the days when to have your furniture covered in French chintz was the height of fashion!
Teknonymy is the practice of referring to parents by the names of their children. It is used in the Korean language as well as in the Arab world and West Africa. Clifford Geertz found this in Balinese culture as well. I'm not sure I fully understand how it is used in Korean etc but as any parent knows the moment their child starts at nursery the parent loses their own identity and simply becomes X's Mum or X's Dad...
Boscaresque is one of those made-up words that the occasional poet has apparently used. A combination of picturesque (visually vivid and pleasing) and bosky (covered with bushes) it is supposed to mean a scenic woodland.
Blood libels are allegations that a person or group engages in human sacrifice, often accompanied by the claim that the blood of victims is used in various rituals and/or acts of cannibalism. Its use is nearly always with regard to sensationalized accusations and high emotions. Throughout history, these claims have been frequently made against Jews living in Europe and even resulted in lynching and persecution of whole Jewish communities.
It has recently been used by our modern Mrs Malaprop (she who coined refudiate last year) Sarah Palin. Pundits say that the reason this phrase has provoked so much anger is because Palin is using the phrase “blood libel” just to refer to verbal criticisms, implying an equivalence between both circumstances. The famous linguist Deborah Tannen has speculated that Palin and her advisors are totally unaware of blood libel’s proper meaning.
Many people will know that sulky means huffish, sullen or moody.
But did you know that a sulky was a form of one-person horse-drawn light carriage in Victorian times or a low two-wheeled cart sometimes used in harness racing. I have mentioned a few carriages in the past on this blog but I have just come across a great list for anyone who is interested on a site called phrontistery.
Prolix means tediously prolonged speech or writing; tending to speak or write at great length. I suppose I should go on at great length about prolix and make this a suitable posring. However, as I am not normally inclined to wordiness, verbosity and garrulousness I'll finish now...
This is something I suffer from a times - Lethologica is a psychological disorder that inhibits an individual's ability to articulate his or her thoughts by temporarily forgetting key words, phrases or names in conversation; the inability to remember the correct word.
Allegedly - i.e. according to one website but I cannot find it in a dictionary - matronolagnia means being attracted to older women, especially those with children. A strange word and a strange concept!
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
Thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of tea or coffee? And please, sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. I am a happily married man in my late sixties who lives on the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool, in the UK.
I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)