"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Coxcomb and Coxcomical
Coxcomb is a noun - an archaic term for a vain and conceited man; a dandy; a fop.
The term was also used for a jester's cap. Such caps were often decorated with a piece of red cockscomb. In Medieval times such caps usually had three points representing the ears and tail of a donkey that jester's wore in earlier times.
Thirdly, the word is still in use as a variant spelling of cockscomb - the fleshy red crest on the head of the domestic fowl and other gallinaceous birds.
The adjective from coxcomb was coxcombical or coxcomical, meaning foppish or conceited. In 1755, Dr Johnson described coxcomical as a 'low word unworthy of use'. That's a shame - I think it's a wonderful word and wish it were still in common usage.
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! I am a 6' year old man who lives near Liverpool in the UK. Grab a cup of tea or coffee and sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. To learn more about me please view my profile and continue to check out my posts. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. Thank you so much!
I'm a blogger - nowadays that seems to be my main occupation and 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 specal favourite.
Scriptor Senex is Latin for Old Writer and my real name is John but I've almost forgotten that nowadays...
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)