|Reading something thelyphthoric|
always made her hair stand on end.
Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages is a treasure trove. The author has manfully mined the depths of all 20 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary, bringing to the surface glittering jewels of word exotica. You will either think him a nutbar or hero; I incline to the latter view. For word lovers (a.k.a. vocabularians), this book is beyond engrossing. Ammon Shea is an appealing Virgil, taking the reader on a labyrinthine lexical journey with pit stops along the way for colorful information about dictionaries and those who both create and devour them. On my scribbled list of words whose definitions I will return to with delight (and perchance incorporate into my daily life) are the following:
P.S. Spell check flagged all but three.Accismus—an insincere refusal of a thing that is desiredAnonymuncule—an anonymous, small-time writer (c'est moi!)Bouffage—an enjoyable or satisfying meal, from the Old French for "cheek-puffing meat"Cachinnator—a person that laughs too loud or too much (what shrinks call "inappropriate laughter")Exsibilation—the act of hissing somebody off the stage (can't imagine anyone contemporary witnessing this, but would like to know about it if so!)Eumorphous—well formed (sounds like a word William F. Buckley would have used)Farouche—sullen, shy, and repellent in manner (an all-around rotten egg!)Finifugal—shunning the end of anything (like Mad Men?)Heredipety—the seeking of an inheritanceIllutible—see if you can guess; it was a problem faced by Lady MacbethKakistocracy—government by the worst citizens (definition of Congress?)Mawworm—a hypocrite with pretentions of sanctity (GREAT word!!)Nefandious—too odious to be spoken of (pretty dang awful)Oxyphonia—guess: it caused poor Julia Child to be much ridiculedPsithurism—whispering of leaves moved by the wind (too poetic a thing for such a silly word)Quisquilious—trashy!Ruffing—stomping of feet as a form of applause (who does this??)Scrouge—standing too close to or pressing against someone so that you discomfit themSomnificator—one who induces sleep in othersThelyphthoric—morally corrupting to women (sadly, no examples are given...)Valentine (v)—birds greeting each other at mating time