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Words We Don't Use

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Thu May 10th, 2012, 3:46 pm

villakin - A little villa; a little village. ~ Robert Hunter's Encyclopædic Dictionary, 1895

A villa residence. ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1926

break the year - To leave a situation before the end of the year. ~ Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905

This is a term of servant-life. In the rural districts, it is customary to "hire" for the year, and servants leaving before the expiration of the twelve-months are said to break the year, which is considered a discreditable thing to do, and loss of "a character" [reference] may be the penalty. ~ Georgina Jackson's Shropshire Word-Book, 1879

eelery - A place where eels are caught. ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1901

Broggle, to sniggle or fish for eels; Northern England. ~ Robert Hunter's Encyclopædic Dictionary, 1895

snickersneeze - A term without meaning used to frighten children. "I'll snickersneeze you if you don't." ~ R. E. G. Cole's Words Used in South-West Lincolnshire, 1886

step-and-fetch-it - A person that drags one leg in walking . . . A favorite nickname for a tall girl, quick and decisive in her movements. ~ G. F. Northall's Warwickshire Word-Book, 1896

ensorcell - To enchant, bewitch, fascinate. Adapted from Old French ensorceler, sorcerer. Ensorcellement, magic, enchantment. ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1901

millefleurs - A perfume distilled from flowers of different kinds; formed on French eau de millefleurs, literally "water of a thousand flowers." ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1908

navvy - The use of the word navvy for a toiler, principally with a spade, is, I suppose, growing rare . . . Navvy may be deemed a nickname, and so "general labourer" is preferred. But the name navy [still heard in Britain] has a history, and might well be a word of pride. It is short for navigator. It is true that this sort of navigator did not hold a master's certificate or stand at the helm on stormy nights; he was a land-animal. But we owe to him some benefits of the waterway, since without him there would have been no internal navigation of Britain . . . Explorers of our often neglected canals will there discover inns called after navigators. In them these brawny fellows, toiling without benefit of bulldozers and trenching Britain with their grueling handiwork, slaked their thirst. And there the occasional . . . holiday amateur of canal exploration can take his beer still . . . [Navvies] have no reason to be rid of the abbreviated name, as though it were some term of contempt like the odious slavey and skivvy, once applied with a callousness now fortunately out of date, to women who did the roughest or simplest domestic tasks. ~ Ivor Brown's Words in Our time, 1958

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Thu May 10th, 2012, 4:09 pm

Navvy is still used here quite a lot, usually to describe manual workers; I agree it can have be slightly derogatory. But people who have rough, calloused hands sometimes say that they've got hands like a navvy.
Currently reading: "The Darkest Evening" by Ann Cleeves

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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Fri May 11th, 2012, 4:48 pm

"step and fetch it" has a very particular meaning in the US as a stereotype for lazy black people. A black comedian Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry used Stepin Fetchit as a stage name for "the laziest man on earth," and became the first black actor in the US to have a screen actor credit (also was first black actor to become a millionaire.) His persona was quite controversial, some seeing it as offensive, others as subversive.
Last edited by fljustice on Sat May 12th, 2012, 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Fri May 11th, 2012, 8:49 pm

I love snickersneeze. I'm going to sneak up on my kids right now and shout it at them. Don't worry, they're used to their crazy mother. : )

Update: they just kept on eating their carrots. They care not.

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Tue May 22nd, 2012, 2:46 pm

realm-bounding - Fixing and marking the boundaries of a kingdom. ~ Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, c. 1850

hogenhine - He that comes guest-wise to an inn or house, and lies there the third night, after which he is accounted of that family. And if he offend the king's peace, his host was to be answerable for him [Literally] "third night own servant." ~ Thomas Blount's Law Dictionary and Glossary, 1717

From awn hine, "third night." ~ Elisha Cole's English Dictionary, 1713

lunarian - An inhabitant of the moon. ~ Richard Coxe's Pronouncing Dictionary, 1813

When it is what we call new moon, we hsall appear as a full moon to the Lunarians. ~ George Adams' Lectures on Natural and Experimental Philosophy, 1794

One who observes or describes the moon; one who used the lunar method in finding longitude. ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1908

drowning the miller - We are said to be drowning the miller when we are pouring in too large a quantity of water among the whisky to be mixed into grog . . . If too much water be let run on a mill, the wheel becomes drowned, as it were, and will not move the machinery. ~ John Mactaggart's Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia, 1824

boanthropy - A form of madness in which a man believes himself to be an ox. ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary,1888

bowbard - A dastard; a person destitute of spirit . . . Junius considers it as akin to English boobie and buffoon. It is perhaps allied to German bub, which . . . first signified a boy, then a servant, and at length a worthless fellow. ~ John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1808

hang out the broom - An old country phrase, dating back to 1820, for the absence of a wife from her home. To hang out the broom meant that, the good wife being away, the man's friends and cronies might come and make merry in the kitchen. ~ Edwin Radford's Encyclopedia of Phrases and Origins, 1945

To sweep broom-field, to inherit the whole property; Eastern England. ~ James Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, 1855

flurrigigs - Useless finery; Northamptonshire. ~ Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905

bellipotent - Mighty in war. ~ Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, 1755

Puissant [potent, powerful] at arms. ~ Thomas Blount's Glossographia, 1656

cum thank - Peculiarly used in the expression, still frequently heard, "I cum ye no thank," I acknowledge no thanks to you. ~ Alfred Easther's Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield, 1883
Last edited by Rowan on Tue May 22nd, 2012, 3:21 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Reason: adding piecemeal

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Wed May 23rd, 2012, 1:14 am

I love flurrigigs! I'll have to set a story in that time period so I can use it.

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Wed May 30th, 2012, 1:59 pm

chantepleur - He that sings and weeps both together. ~ Elisha Cole's English Dictionary, 1713

Name of a French poem of the 13th century addressed to those who sing in this world and shall weep in the next; hence used of a mixture or alternation of joy and sorrow. From French chanter, to sing, and pleurer, to weep. The word has several senses in modern French, "weep-hole," "flood opening" in a wall, etc. which have not entered into English. ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1893

Conformyng them to the chante plure - now to synge and sodaynely to wepe. ~ John Lydgate's Chronicle of Troy, 1430

Cheddar-letter - A letter consisting of several paragraphs, each the contribution of a different person. The name is taken from the Cheddar-cheese manufacture, in which all the dairies contributed their share of fresh cream. ~ Robert Hunter's Encyclopaedic Dictionary, 1895

Buckard. . . of milk, soured by keeping too long in the milk-bucket . . . the word is now . . . applied to cheese only, when instead of being solid it has a spongy look and is full of cavities. ~ Frederick Elworthy's English Dialects: Devonshire, 1879

peezy-weezies - It is said of a person who is sulky, or is in the dumps, that he has the peezy-weezies or the hansy-janzies. ~ William Cope's Glossary of Hampsire Words and Phrases, 1883

slonk - A ditch; a deep, wet hollow in a road. ~ Hugh Patterson's Glossary of Antrim and Down, 1880

bawker - A roguish player in a bowling-alley who has confederates in the crowd. ~ A. V. Judges's Elizabethan Underworld, 1930

live dictionary - A schoolteacher; a talkative woman. ~ Ramon Adam's Western Words: A Dictionary of the Range Cow Camp, and Trail, 1944

blatteration - Senseless roar; from Latin blatteratio. Blatent, bellowing, as a calf. ~ Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, 1755

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Post by annis » Wed May 30th, 2012, 5:54 pm

Shrift, the act of confession and absolution, from the verb "to shrive".
Shrive comes from the Old English verb scrfan, "to decree, decree after judgment, impose a penance upon (a penitent), hear the confession of." The past participle of scrfan is scrifen, our shriven. The noun shrift, "penance; absolution," comes from Old English scrift.

"Shrift" is now only used in the phrase "short shrift", which means to give something or someone brief and unsympathetic treatment e.g. he was annoying me, so I gave him short shrift.

"Short shrift" was a brief penance given to a person condemned to death so that absolution could be granted before execution. Shakespeare was the first to use the phrase in the way we do now.

I quite often hear this phrase altered to "short shift" by people who don't understand the original meaning and possibly because "shrift" is harder to say :)

hackcyn
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Post by hackcyn » Wed May 30th, 2012, 7:41 pm

Great thread. I like

Fopdoodle - a stupid or insignificant fellow

and

Salmagundi - a 17th century English salad

Together they form the title of a modern version of Samuel Johnson's dictionary.

There are some great definitions and words which perhaps lack much purpose, like

Ignivomous - Vomiting fire.

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Wed May 30th, 2012, 10:54 pm

live-dictionary, huh? I've been called a human encyclopedia, particularly with regard to song lyrics.

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