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Onding

Mar. 28th, 2019 | 07:46 am

onding (ON-ding) - (Scot.) n., a heavy continuous fall of rain or snow; an assault, attack, onset of noise.


And verbal versions. Sometimes Scots takes a post-verbal on and prefixes it instead (sometimes with a hyphen) -- so this is a snow so hard it "dings on" things.

---L.

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flindrikin

Mar. 27th, 2019 | 07:42 am

flindrikin (FLIN-dri-kuhn) - (Scot.) n., something light and unsubstantial; (fig.) a slight snow-shower.


A "flimsy" fall of snow. This seems to have been coined by adding -kin to a Middle Dutch word for butterfly.

---L.

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skelf

Mar. 26th, 2019 | 07:44 am

skelf (skelf) - (Scot.) n., a thin flat flake, a slice, a splinter (esp. one that gets under the skin), a large flake of snow; (fig.) a thin small insignificant person.


Hence also skelvie, (of snow) in large flakes. Exact etymology unclear but probably at least influenced by Dutch schelf, a scale/flake/wood-splinter, and somehow skelf meaning a shelf/something split off seems to be invoved.

---L.

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sneesl

Mar. 25th, 2019 | 07:53 am

Lexicographers have logged 421 words for snow in Scots English. Here's a week of 'em from the master list:


sneesl or snisl (snizl) - (Scot.) v., to begin to rain or snow; to rain or snow very lightly.


How's that for a fun word to say?

---L.

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pomander

Mar. 22nd, 2019 | 07:44 am

pomander (POH-man-der, poh-MAN-der) - n., a mixture of aromatic substances enclosed in a perforated bag or box, formerly carried as a perfume or a guard against infection, now used to scent clothes and linens; the bag, ball, or other case used to carry it; a clove-studded orange or apple used to scent clothes and linens.


Worn on one's person from the mid-13th through 17th centuries. "As a perfume" is a little misleading -- it's more so to have a personal scent that overpowered bad smells from other people and things. From Old French pome d'embre, lit. apple of amber. Portrait of a woman holding a pomander on a gold chain:

Woman holding a pomader
Thanks, WikiMedia!

---L.

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accismus

Mar. 21st, 2019 | 07:51 am

accismus (ak-SIZ-muhs) - n., (rhet.) the feigned refusal of or disinterest in something, while actually desiring it.


When the fox claimed the grapes were probably sour anyway, or when someone says, "Oh, I'm not worthy of this honor." From Greek, like most rhetorical terms, but unlike most the origin is obscure -- the most common story is that it's named after a woman who supposedly did this a lot, but there's plenty of disagreement over this.

---L.

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longueur

Mar. 19th, 2019 | 07:41 am

longueur (lawng-GUR) - n., a long, tedious passage in a book, play, etc.


The parts you want to skip over/fast-forward through/etc. Technically, a longueur is not necessarily long, but that's so strongly a connotation that I think of it as part of the denotation. When it's that kind of dull and tedious, it feels long. Plus it's implied by the etymology: this was taken from French in the 18th century, where longueur is literally length, from Latin longus. Applications to your daily routine are at your discretion.

---L.

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cernuous

Mar. 18th, 2019 | 07:40 am

cernuous (SURN-yoo-uhs, SUR-noo-uhs) - adj., (botany) inclining or nodding downward, drooping.


Used for a bud, flower, or fruit. Some sunflowers are disappointingly cernuous. From Latin cernuus, leaning forwards/facing the earth, of obscure origin.

---L.

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hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

Mar. 15th, 2019 | 07:41 am

hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (HEK-suh-koh-see-oy-HEK-see-kon-tuh-HEK-suh-foh-bee-uh, followed by a deep breath in) - n., fear of the number 666.


That being the number associated with the Beast of Revelations in most Christian scriptures about the end times (some early manuscripts have 616). Coined from Greek roots hexakósioi, six hundred + hexékonta, sixty + hexa, six + -phobia, fear. This is a relatively recent coinage, with the oldest citation I've found coming from 2005, but as Wikipedia notes, the condition is not new. A person with this is a hexakosioihexekontahexaphobiac.

And that wraps it up for a theme week of long words. Back next week to the usual mix.

---L.

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phantasmagoria

Mar. 14th, 2019 | 07:57 am

phantasmagoria (fan-taz-muh-GOHR-ee-uh) - n., a dreamlike state where real and imagined elements are blurred together; a constantly changing scene composed of numerous elements.


Originally, an optical illusion produced by a magic lantern or the like in which figures increase or diminish in size, pass into each other, dissolve, and so on. The original Phantasmagoria, or Grand Cabinet of Optical and Mechanical Curiosities, exhibiting Magical Illusions, and various other wonderful Pieces of Art, started showing on October 5, 1801, taking its name from French, phantasmagorie, the name for recent similar shows, coined from phantasme, phantasm (from Old French fantasme) + -agorie (perhaps from Greek agora, assembly).

Spooooooky.

---L.

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