Weekly Roundup 12-26-18 Having Fun With Obsolete Words

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

The English language has a boatload of obsolete words we rarely or never use, and I find it interesting to get reacquainted with some every now and then. Writers, take note of these gems and look for ways to put them back in circulation. I have added helpful explanatory notes for each.

Farctate – completely satiated or full to the point of bursting. (Usually followed by flatulate. I’m sure the words are related somehow.)

Philodox – a dogmatic person who is especially fond of his/her own opinions. (This term is especially useful when describing elected politicians.)

Gramercy – an exclamation of pleased surprise. (See also “Lordhavemercy” for unpleasant surprises.)

Cavil – to raise trivial and oftentimes irritating objections or to find fault unnecessarily. (Marriage counselors use this one a lot.)

Churlish – a rude, boorish, or miserly person. (Normally, we simply say “stop being an ass”, but that requires four words.)

Frisson – a sudden, passing shudder of emotion or excitement. (I believe romance writers could get some mileage out of this one!)

Gargalesthesia – a term given to the sensation caused by being tickled. (Hmmm…I was sure this meant a fear of gargling.)

Beldam – a term for “grandmother”. (Related to Ohdam which means “mother-in-law” and Hotdam which refers to one’s wife.)

Defalcation – the act of misusing funds or embezzling. (Similar to defecation or “Oh Shit”, the expression used when one is caught defalcating.)

Vulpine – crafty and cunning. (This is less confusing than saying “foxy”, which may be confused with “Hotdam” above.)

Buccula – the fold of fatty tissue under the jaw, commonly called a “double chin”. (Related to Buttula, Guttula, or any other sagging body part.)

Brontide – a rumbling sound like distant thunder. (Do not confuse with “farctate”, above.)

Morosoph – a learned fool, or one who puts up the pretense of knowledge or wisdom. (Most of us either live next to, or work with a Morosoph. See also gasbag, jackass, moron.)

Hypermnesia – having an exceptional memory. (A little less clumsy than “memory like an elephant” and the opposite of amnesia or “can’t remember a damn thing”.)

Factotum – a person having many diverse traits and different responsibilities or serving in a wide range of capacities. (Replaced in modern English with “Mom”.)

Virago – a large, strong, or domineering woman. (See note on “Ohdam” above.)

Lalochezia – the emotional relief gained by emitting vulgar or indecent words. (Huh! And all this time I just thought it was someone who lacked self control, manners, or a proper upbringing.)

And there you have it! English is fascinating, and it’s too bad we restrict our word usage to the tried and true. So, good luck preventing your churlish beldam from farctating in public. Gramercy!!   (click HERE for the source article)

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Traitor’s Moon – Chapter thirteen is now complete! Word count = 109,800.

Somehow, this book turned out to have fewer chapters, but each of them is longer. I don’t like interrupting the flow of the story in odd places with chapter breaks. The problem is that readers have been trained to expect not only shorter chapters, but shorter books overall (eBooks, that is). Another way to address this is to make two books out of one with a cliffhanger, but again, I don’t like that approach. Sure, it’s possible I could make more money, but it’s not my impression that readers like to be taken advantage of this way. I know I wouldn’t.

Unfortunately, chapter thirteen didn’t turn out to be the last chapter as I predicted earlier! I’m not surprised really, as this seems to happen at the end of very book I’ve written. Too much information I still need to include, necessitating an additional chapter to fit it all in. I’ve always maintained the book isn’t finished until the story is complete, and I refuse to cheat my readers or characters by leaving things out. There are a lot of plot threads in a novel this size, and I simply can’t leave them dangling with no resolution.

So, what does this mean? It means I may not meet my goal of completing the manuscript by December 31st. It also means the book will end up being a bit longer than I anticipated. I don’t think it will cause a significant delay in the release date of the book, but that depends heavily on when my beta readers finish doing their thing.

Anyway, I had fun wrapping up one of the main story arcs and fixing the little red wagon of a certain odious character. What’s left is the above mentioned threads, as I carefully tie them off with some sort of resolution or satisfactory follow up. I don’t want my readers to start saying, “Wait! What happened to so and so?” I spent an awful lot of time and effort developing those lovely sub-plots, and I want to see them through to the end. Honestly, without them the book would be flat and rather uninteresting, so I don’t begrudge the time it takes to do it right.

Age-Revealing Words!

I ran across an article the other day which reminded me once again of my age – not a pleasant topic of conversation considering my birthday is this week. Here’s a few words and phrases which will reveal your age:

Fuddy Duddy  – Just say “old fart” and you’ll be understood.

Dear John Letter – if you have to explain what a “letter” is, you can forget the “John” part.

Davenport – stick with sofa or couch to be safe.

Long-distance call – Ha! even the word “telephone” is fading, along with “operator” and “collect calls”.

VCR and Videotape – now inhabiting every antique store in the nation.

Little Black Book – hmmm….perhaps check your contacts list.

Wet blanket – I prefer party-pooper myself!

Making Whoopee – “hooking up” or the old standby “having sex” will get the idea across.

See the full article HERE if you need more!

Anyway, the issue, as it relates to my writing, is the challenge of creating believable dialog for characters who come from outside my own age group. Fortunately, I don’t write for children or young adults so most of my word/phrase choices are at least minimally understandable to my readers!

What can I say? I’m a product of my generation, which includes the way I speak and the words I use to communicate. Now don’t repeat this, but I enjoy utilizing uncommon words or phrases when possible to make the text more interesting. If my readers don’t know what something means, it’s easy to look it up and learn something in the process.

It is thought there are at least 250,000 distinct words in the English language, with 171,000 in current use and 47,000 on the obsolete list. What richness to draw from when writing! So, go head, choose a few antiques for your next book, story, or blog entry which no one uses any more. You can educate your readers AND rescue some perfectly good words from the “obsolete” list at the same time! You don’t want to be a party-pooper do you?

 

The Odious Apostrophe

The Odious Apostrophe

 

Apostrophe, Apostrophe,

or should I say catastrophe?

You make me nervous, angry, mean,

You’re Satan’s punctuation scheme.

I put you in and take you out,

Confusion reigns, along with doubt.

Unlike the period or comma,

You thrive on messiness and drama.

English would be much less rotten,

If you could only be forgotten.

Alexander Elliott