Saturday, October 26, 2019

About Words: For Mumpsimus People, Ninnyhammers, & Aprosexiacs

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Looking for a new way to express certain feelings, events, actions, or ideas that the current dictionary doesn’t seem to allow for?  Look no further than words that used to be common but now live in obscurity.  So where do you dig up such words?

Try flipping through The Little Book of Lost Words:  Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting by Joe Gillard.

Why is there a need to resurrect words that fell out of favor long ago?  Gillard writes:

“It’s hard to define exactly why we love these deity, musty archaic words.  Is it the colorful way they sound as you speak them and hear them?  Their odd specificity? Their uniqueness?  They do come in great variety.  And while some sound fit only for impressing one’s noble peers at an upper-crust Victorian ball, others sound like the were overheard late at night in a dimly lit Medieval tavern.  Some have ten equally evocative synonyms, while others may be the only word ever crafted to define a certain feeling.  Whatever their origin, whatever their use, those words have this in common: they inevitably bring joy in their rediscovery.  “There’s a word for that,” you will say, in countless conversations, settings, and situations.”

Is it possible that words like clothing fashion, can come back after virtual disuse for decades or centuries?  Could it be that we’ll soon start spewing the words spoken by long-lost ancestors?

Here are a few that seem like they could come back in usage -- provided we all agree to use them and properly apply them to the right situations:

Accismus – a fake refusal of something you really want.
i.e.: Joey may be a master of accismus, but he could never refuse a good chocolate cake.

Amphigory – a piece of writing that appears to have meaning but is really just foolish nonsense.
i.e.:  The poet’s blog post was amphigory; it reads like a late-night drunk text to a woman out of his league.

Apanthropy – a desire to be alone; a distaste for the company of others.
i.e. After hearing more stories from her patients, Sarah, a therapist, felt justified to remain an apantropic young lady.

Blatteroon – a person who talks or boasts incessantly and constantly.
i.e.:  The terain conductor had to silence the blatteroon on his phone.

Famelicose – constantly hungry.
i.e.: The people of third-world countries are famelicose because they have few resources, but Americans suffer from it as well because they lack willpower.

Fogo – an overpowering and unpleasant stench.
i.e.:  The homeless of NYC turned the streets into garbage with a fogo scent wafting out of them.

Notekin – a little note.
i.e.: He turned down the job via notekin.

Popinjay – a person who dresses and acts with vanity and extravagance.
i.e.: Too many Hollywood celebrities prance around as popinjays while completely ignoring the fans they insult.

Ramfeezled – exhausted from a hard day of work.
i.e.: The union worker was surprisingly ramfeezled.

Scaramouch – a braggart who is secretly a coward.
i.e.:  All of those politicians are egotistical scaramomouches who run at the first hint of a challenge to their tweets.

Snool – an obedient, submissive person who willingly bows to authority.
i.e.: He took advantage of the snool, demanding she work OT off the clock.

Tortiloquy – immoral or dishonest speech.
i.e.: So much of social media is filled with ignorance and tortiloquy.

Ultracrepidarian – a person with opinions on subjects beyond their knowledge.
i.e.: Trump, ever the ultracrepidarian, weighed in on the subject of immigration.

Wamblecropt – severe digestive discomfort.
i.e.: So many foods, whether organic or genetically mutated, cause wamblecroft.

Prickmedainty – an overly nice person.
i.e.: The selfless dad of three is a prickmedainty without a bad bone in his body.

Quidnunc – a gossipy or meddlesome person.
i.e.: The drunken quidnunc can’t be trusted.

Quanked – exhausted or fatigued from hard work.
i.e.: The teen looked quanked but I’ve never seen him help around the house.

“Of the future we know nothing, of the past little, of the present less; the mirror is too close to our eyes, and our own breath dims it.”

--Walter Savage Landor

“What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.”

“From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.”

--Denis Diderot

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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