Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  The Vocabulary Forum    Weird and Wonderful Words
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Weird and Wonderful Words Login/Join
 
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted
As Erin McKean noted in introducing her book Weird and Wonderful Words,
quote:
Finding a truly weird and wonderful word is like meeting a gorgeous person who is also a good cook and will help you move.
"There are plenty of words that are weird without being the least bit wonderful -- nectocalyx is orthographically weird, but [its dreary scientific meaning] is sadly lacking on the wonder scale." Conversely, "There are wonderful words, such as brio and luminescent, which long familiarity has deprived of any weirdness."

This week we present weird and wonderful words, with useful meanings. We'll even choose ones that sound so ordinary and unassuming that one could work them into everyday conversation without drawing attention; that is they are useable as well as useful. No sesquipeds here! As a bonus, the sounds of each word give a grin and, perhaps, reflects its meaning.

[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Mon Jan 27th, 2003 at 12:56.]
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
fleer - to laugh in a disrespectful or jeering way. prob. of Scand. orig

Our quote concerns the adoption of "standard time" -- time zones -- in the late 1800's, supplanting each city's and town's use of its own local time. The railroads sought that changeforuniformity, lest scheduling confusion produce the unfortunate result of two trains attempting simultaneously to occupy the same track.
quote:
Railroads had long since accelerated the tempo of life. But [that] had occurred gradually, and under the cover of celebration. Standard time focused a delayed ambivalence. "Damn Vanderbilt's time! We want God's time," one old party fleered at a railroad time consultant. Many non-codgers felt the same way.
Jack Beatty, "The Track to Modernity", in The Atlantic, Jan. 2, 2003


[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Mon Jan 27th, 2003 at 13:05.]
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
handsel - a gift as a token of good luck, such as one upon a graduation, new year, wedding or opening-of-business. Also, the first money taken in at a shop.

In Scotland, the first Monday of each year used to be celebrated as a holiday, called Handsel Monday.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
gallimaufry – an absurd medly; a hodgepodge (This word originally meant "a hash of various kinds of meats". It traces back to Old French for "to make merry" (source of English gala) + "to eat much", and to Medieval Dutch for "to open one's mouth wide".)

quote:
Today bilingual programs are conducted in a gallimaufry of around 80 tongues, ranging from Spanish to Lithuanian to Micronesian Yapese.
--Ezra Bowen, "For Learning or Ethnic Pride?" Time, July 8, 1985 (special thanks to dictionary.com for this entry)
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of shufitz
posted Hide Post
Looking at dictionary.com I found that The Guardian used that last word, "gallimaufry", in a way that sho' fits well in another thread.
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Chicago, IL USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
I love this theme, wordcrafter! Big Grin
 
Posts: 23311 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
gammerstang – a tall, awkward woman

Sometimes you'll find this lovely word defined with further shades of meaning, such as "with bad manners" or "with bad morals". Gammerstang seems to be principally of british use; can any of our british readers shed further light? The word is too rarely used to find a published sample-sentence.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
I have never heard of this word although there is an archaic word, "Gammer" which means "an old woman". It is very rarely used although the male equivalent, "gaffer" can still be heard.

This is probably because "gaffer" has acquired a second meaning, that of "boss" and can be heard when workers in manufacturing industries are speaking of their immediate superior.

Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of BobHale
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
I have never heard of this word although there is an archaic word, "Gammer" which means "an old woman". It is very rarely used although the male equivalent, "gaffer" can still be heard.

This is probably because "gaffer" has acquired a second meaning, that of "boss" and can be heard when workers in manufacturing industries are speaking of their immediate superior.

Richard English


You do still hear "gaffer" with its meaning of "old man" used in the Midlands, especially if you visit some working man's pubs where the little old man siting in the corner nursing his half pint of mild will be called "the gaffer".

Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum

Read all about my travels around the world here.
 
Posts: 7867 | Location: EnglandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
I confess I've never heard of the word either. A little research seems to show that it's a Cumbrian dialect word meaning a sort of female lummox. I found a verse in dialect called The Raffles Merry Neet which contains this stanza:

I' t'loft they were rwoarin' an dancin';
Big Nancy, the greet gammerstang,
Went up an' doon t'fluir lyke a haystack,
An' fain wad hev coddled Ned Strang;

A rough translation would be:

In the loft they were roaring and dancing;
Big Nancy, the great lummox,
Went up and down the floor like a haystack,
And would have happily cuddled Ned Strang;

Cumbria is an area where the local dialect is still, happily, spoken by a goodly number of people.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Richard says:
quote:
I have never heard of this word although there is an archaic word, "Gammer" which means "an old woman".


Gammer is a word I used to describe Emily in our Christmas Romance thread.
 
Posts: 1412 | Location: Buffalo, NY, United StatesReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
mundungus - foul-smelling tobacco.

How lovely to be able to say, "Get that mundungus out of my home, please."

Mundungus has apparently has become slang, in the Royal navy, for any useless or unwanted material (like gubbins, wiffen, etc.) Mundungus Fletcher is a minor character in JK Rowling's Harry Potter books.
quote:
Lizo: Is there anything that you can tell us about book five? Any new characters?
JK: Well, we've obviously got a new Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher ... You may see a little more of Mundungus and there's a new sorting hat song.
--CBBC interview with JK Rowling, 19 September 2002

 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
foul-smelling tobacco.
Razz
 
Posts: 1412 | Location: Buffalo, NY, United StatesReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
wamble – to move in a weaving, wobbling, or rolling manner (noun: a wobble or roll)
from ME wamelen = to feel nausea
also, when referring to the stomach: to turn or roll (noun: an upset stomach)

Note: the vowel sound in the first syllable can be pronuounced either as in 'pot' or as in 'pat'.
quote:
Yes, I believe ye. That's just it. I KNOW Grace will gradually sink down to our level again, and catch our manners and way of speaking, and feel a drowsy content in being Giles's wife. Fancy her white hands getting redder every day, and her tongue losing its pretty up-country curl in talking, and her bounding walk becoming the regular Hintock shail and wamble!
-- Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders, Chapter 11
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Wordcrafter, another glorious word!
While I love these new words and others posted on this site (most recently Asa's "thaumaturgy" and Graham's "mingy"), I wonder how to make them a part of my vocabulary. It is fun to read about them, but does anyone have suggestions about how to use them?
 
Posts: 23311 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
moil – to work with painful effort; to toil; to drudge (noun: toil; hard work; drudgery); also, to churn or swirl about continuously (noun: confusion; turmoil)

Doesn't this sound of this word somehow conjure up an image of mole-like beasts slaving away in the dark?
quote:
Now he must moil and drudge for one he loathes. – Dryden

Dusty and dim are the eyes of the miller,
Deaf are his ears with the moil of the mill.
– Robert Louis Stevenson, Keepsake Mill, from 'A Child's Garden of Verses'

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge¹ of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
– Robert W. Service, The Cremation of Sam Mcgee
¹Bonus word: marge – border; margin; edge; verge
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of shufitz
posted Hide Post
Kalleh commented, about our words, "It is fun to read about them, but does anyone have suggestions about how to use them?"

Hon, to me the special beauty of this weeks theme is that these are words you could toss into ordinary conversation.
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Chicago, IL USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of TrossL
posted Hide Post
I'm not sure if I'm allowed to add my favorite weird & wonderful word since it looks like only wordcrafter is the one bringing up the new ones, however...

For your consideration:

pecuniary adj. of money; financial

Being that I am currently unemployed my thoughts are of a pecuniary nature of late.
 
Posts: 784 | Location: Atlanta, GAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Hic et ubique
posted Hide Post
Following up on 'pecuniary' is another financial term.

peculation: embezzlement

(How do I just know asa will have something to say about 'pec'?)
 
Posts: 1204Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Graham Nice
posted Hide Post
Aliquot

This is a nice scientific noun used to describe measured samples that my wife recently verbified for me when offering to aliquot me a portion of cottage cheese.

For Kalleh:
Minging not mingy. It rhymes with singing. It's lovely to think of it being used in Illinois.
 
Posts: 382 | Location: CambridgeReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of TrossL
posted Hide Post
My dictionary says meaning is :
adj. forming an exact proper divisor.

You sure she didn't mean allocate?
 
Posts: 784 | Location: Atlanta, GAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
quote:
For Kalleh:
Minging not mingy. It rhymes with singing. It's lovely to think of it being used in Illinois
Oh, isn't that just the story of my life? After all that research on "mingy", I find out I had the wrong word all along! Frown However, now I am more convinced that "minging" comes from "retromingent". However, I have exhausted all my sources and have no further place to look. Confused
 
Posts: 23311 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
<Asa Lovejoy>
posted
(How do I just know asa will have something to say about 'pec')
============================
Gee, thanks! Now the whole board knows I'm impecunious! Oh, well, at least I have a job - so far... Roll Eyes

Hey, TrossL, what do you do when you do do it? PM me if you don't want the world to know - if you're a CIA operative or something.
 
Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Graham Nice
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
quote:
For Kalleh:
Minging not mingy. It rhymes with singing. It's lovely to think of it being used in Illinois
Oh, isn't that just the story of my life? After all that research on "mingy", I find out I had the wrong word all along! Frown However, now I am more convinced that "minging" comes from "retromingent". However, I have exhausted all my sources and have no further place to look. Confused


RazzRetromingent is a fantastic word and I am going to try and use at least three times today. It was well worth any barking-up-the-wrong-tree research you may have done! Big Grin
 
Posts: 382 | Location: CambridgeReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Graham, check the limerick thread! Big Grin
 
Posts: 23311 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of C J Strolin
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by wordcrafter:
_moil_ – to work with painful effort; to toil; to drudge (_noun:_ toil; hard work; drudgery);


As a noun, a moil (I think I've seen it as "moyl" or "moyle" but dictionary.com doesn't have either) is the Yiddish term for the person who conducts the ritual circumcision of male Jewish babies.

One of my (hundreds of) pet peeves is the person who makes some stupid joke about cutting off someone's foreskin and then referring to himself as a rabbi. Actually, anyone telling foreskin jokes (since they're so rarely funny) makes up a pet peeve of its own.

The rabbi may officiate over the operation but it's the moil who handles the knife. Still, brings new meaning to the definition "painful effort."
 
Posts: 1517 | Location: Illinois, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I can recall only one encounter with this word:
"There are strange things done
In the midnight sun,
By the men who moil for gold..."
-Robert Service
-The Cremation of Sam McGee
Since "Moil" derives from the Old French moillier (to paddle in mud), I think Service caught the sense of the word perfectly. Can't you just see those poor saps slogging around in the muck panning for gold? My high regard for Service's work is again boosted. Too bad he considered so much of his own work to be trash!
 
Posts: 249 | Location: CanadaReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of shufitz
posted Hide Post
quote:
Posted by CJ
As a noun, a moil (I think I've seen it as "moyl" or "moyle" but dictionary.com doesn't have either) is the Yiddish term for the person who conducts the ritual circumcision of male Jewish babies.


I think the usual spelling is "mohel".

Dictionary.com does not have any of the four versions given here (moil, moyl, moyle or mohel) except with completely different meanings. But one-look is a broader dictionary-source (it includes dictionary.com), and it will gives mohel, and only mohel, for this meaning. If you google "mohel" you'll also sense that this is the preferred way to transliterate from the Yiddish.
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Chicago, IL USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jerry thomas
posted Hide Post
 
Posts: 6710 | Location: Kehena Beach, Hawaii, U.S.A.Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  The Vocabulary Forum    Weird and Wonderful Words

Copyright © 2002-12