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Words We Don't Use

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Tue February 28th, 2012, 1:58 pm

stultify - To stultify formerly meant to declare to be insane. Bouvier['s Law Dictionary,1839] says, "It is a general rule in English law that a man shall not be permitted to stultify himself - that is, he shall not be allowed to plead his insanity to avoid a contract." ~ Eliezer Edward's Words, Facts, and Phrases, 1882

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bevgray
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Post by bevgray » Tue February 28th, 2012, 2:29 pm

KEYS TO THE KINGDOM by Cronin. Is that the one about the Scottish priest who goes to China? If so, it's a lovely story.
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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Tue February 28th, 2012, 2:32 pm

I just looked up the book, bev, and it is.

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DianeL
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Post by DianeL » Wed February 29th, 2012, 12:22 am

Stultify is an interesting one - I grew up in the South/midatlantic, and around here often heard summer heat described as stultifying. Given my own response to 100-degree temps, I always assumed stultify must mean some manner of lassitude or even lethargic ill health - still, heat can drive you a bit mad, so it makes some sense (even if different sense than I once thought!)
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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Wed February 29th, 2012, 2:57 am

Heard of stultify before but never knew the definition. Thanks, Rowan.

Edited to add: sounds like a Harry Potter spell.

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Wed February 29th, 2012, 9:36 am

I've heard of stultify too but was never sure what it meant. I think it's a good word in the context that Diane mentions, and yes it does sound like one of Harry's spells.
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SGM
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Post by SGM » Wed February 29th, 2012, 7:40 pm

[quote=""Rowan""]stultify - To stultify formerly meant to declare to be insane. Bouvier['s Law Dictionary,1839] says, "It is a general rule in English law that a man shall not be permitted to stultify himself - that is, he shall not be allowed to plead his insanity to avoid a contract." ~ Eliezer Edward's Words, Facts, and Phrases, 1882[/quote]

I was not aware of the definition you have given but it is a word I have come across more than a few times and use myself but more in the sense of no longer being interesting or "stultifyingly" boring. The OED definition runs along those lines.

However, I did some while ago come across the word "mulcted". The problem was that I was listening to a tape and couldn't quite hear the word properly and so it took me a while to figure out how to spell it.

A mulct is a fine (most usually in the sense of a fine imposed by a court). So mulcted means fined. It was quite a common term in the 17th century.
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Post by SGM » Wed February 29th, 2012, 8:54 pm

[quote=""bevgray""]KEYS TO THE KINGDOM by Cronin. Is that the one about the Scottish priest who goes to China? If so, it's a lovely story.[/quote]

it was also a film with Gregory Peck all of whose films I watched as a kid because he was one of my mother's favourite actors along with Dirk Bogart.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Thu March 1st, 2012, 2:52 pm

offscum - That which is rejected as vile or worthless. ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1909

eat the leek - In familiar language, to withdraw under compulsion... and to apologise. ~ Rev. James Stormonth's Dictionary of the English Language, 1884

In allusion to the Shakespeare passage [from] Henry V, "Hee is come to me, and prings me pread and sault yesterday; looke you, and bid me eate my Leeke." ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1897

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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Mon March 5th, 2012, 5:56 pm

dormiat - to take out a dormiat . . . a license to sleep. The licensed person is excused from attending early prayers in the chapel, from a plea of being indisposed. Latin; literally let him sleep. ~ Benjamin Hall's Collection of College Words and Customs, 1856

comstockery - Excessive opposition to, or censorship of, supposed immorality in art or literature; prudery. From the name of Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), member of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. ~ Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1893

forgat - The old form of the preterite [past tense] of forget. ~ John Ridpath's Home Reference Library, 1898

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