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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

son of leftovers - 1

In my excursions through the dictionary, I stumble, trip and sometimes fall over odd words and those that are no longer in common usage. These words I find and don’t use right away are written down for later possible use – leftover words. One of these is the word “rogue” – not so odd until one thinks that it once described people of low morals and character, then it seemed to shift to animals – like a rogue elephant – then once again it has changed and people speak of rogue nations.

Another of the leftovers is “varlet” – it just doesn’t seem to be used any more. Also the word “knave” – these words have a similar definitions, yet this one is not used either. Their non-usage is probably a good thing - too many rap groups would be fighting to use them in - or as - their name. But then a name like the Knavish Varlets might not be pernicious enough – and maybe even sound too benignant. Aren’t leftovers fun?

Did you know that the words varia, gallimaufry, salmagundi, pastiche and mélange have the same basic meaning – albeit in different areas of life. They all mean a hodgepodge or miscellany – maybe even odds and ends. Woebegone seems to be falling from usage – how many times have you heard it used this week? Unless it was in the descriptions of that fictional (?) lake in Minnesota, spoken about by the guy on public radio – I think he lives on the left coast of that body of water.

One of the meanings of the word unction is something soothing or comforting. Could the word also mean the condition of being an uncle? This wouldn’t take into consideration those that were of a grumpy persuasion. Ever notice that grumpy people seem to always have something to blame that condition on? I guess they don’t know that they have a choice as to whether they are that way or not.

Here’s a leftover thought. I wonder what happens to all the blessings that God supplies if we don’t take them and make them a part of our life? Are they stored away somewhere - Good Will maybe? ec

To be continued.


Blogger Shelley said... just blows my mind away at how many words there are that we don't use (at least on a regular basis) or even know exist (unless one reads through the dictionary or thesaurus). I'd like to have a larger vocabulary to help with my writing...guess that means I should read the dictionary more or something...

1/04/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger grannyfiddler said...

one of the things i like best about reading Robertson Davies is his delicious use of vocabulary. (as in Mum's weekly posting of Monday Marchbanks)

i'm never happier than when i have to take the dictionary with me to bed along with the book i'm reading.

how about 'obstreperous'for a great word? (?spelling unsure)

1/04/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

shelley - Installed in my computer is a Webster's Talking Dictionary and sometimes I just scroll - looking for a word that is different or seldom used.

grannyfiddler - Your spelling is correct and you must already know what it means - unruly, clamorous, or boisterous - wow, that sounds like my grandsons! :) ec

1/04/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

I love the word-posts! Keep it coming. Pastiche is marvellous; it sounds so elegant and condescending. And all it means is a hash. Presentation is everything.

1/04/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I admire anyone who can use a good vocabulary. Words do have nuiance, too, and that is as varied as the person speaking the words. Were you a teacher?

1/04/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Keep up the interesting stuff. I've heard or read varlet and knave, probably in Shakepeare. Naughty knave perhaps?

1/04/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jayleigh said...

Mélange and rogue are two of my favorite words and I used them at least once a week, each!

Like you, I enjoy words. Especially ones that are "old". So many of my coworkers had NO CLUE what I was talking about when I told stories about going to the Grist Mill with my dad when I was a kid. Can you believe it? One lady's hubby WORKED at a mill for 23 years and she'd never heard it called that!

I want to never turn down blessings. If I do, though, I hope He gives them to someone who will appreciate them if I am being a bit bratty.

1/04/2006 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

MCM - Can you imagine my delight at finding a new word . . but then I guess you have to be there. :)

bonita - Not a teacher, just a learner and very curious about our language.

AC - We still have varlets and knaves, they just identify them in more obscene terms. :)

jayleigh - When I was a kid we lived in the country and a grist mill was a necessity for all the farmers - not many left now though. ec

1/04/2006 11:49:00 PM  

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