"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Tergiversation is the act of turning one's back; abandoning something or someone; betrayal; the act of turning from a clear course of action; equivocation; fickleness.

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Gullish is another out-dated term. It meant foolish, credulous, or simple-minded.

Friday, 11 March 2011


Fain is an old-fashioned term meaning gladly or in a willing manner.

"I would fain do it".

Thursday, 10 March 2011


A succedaneum was something that could be used as a substitute (especially any medicine that may be taken in place of another).

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Kerseymere was a fine woollen twill cloth (usually used for a greatcoat).

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Frouzy is an old alternative spelling of frowsy - negligent of neatness especially in dress and person; habitually dirty and unkempt.

"As usual, the frouzy old woman was sat beside the fire, smoking away on her little black pipe."

Monday, 7 March 2011


Contumacious means wilfully obstinate; stubbornly disobedient;argumentative.

Just about every teenager I've known has had their spells of being contumacious!

Sunday, 6 March 2011


An ebullition is an effusion: an unrestrained expression of emotion; a sudden emotional outburst. It also means the act of boiling.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


A parure is a matched set or suite of three or more pieces of jewelry such as necklace, bracelet and earrings. "She entered the room wearing a fine parure of diamonds that outshone all else there."

Friday, 4 March 2011


When I first came across the wrod wuphuism I thought it was probably just another form of the word euphemism (an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh), especially as it fitted the context. In fact the two are not related at all.

Euphuism means an affected bombastic style of language; high-flown diction; a flowery, affected type of writing. It is so called from "Euphues,or the Anatomy of Wit," (1578) and "Euphues and his England," works of Sir John Lyly's written in that style.

This affected style of conversation and writing was fashionable for some time in the court of Queen Elizabeth and the main character in Lyly's works is a fashionable young man named Euphues. The style in which the book is written is full of convoluted sentences, rhetorical questions, alliteration, and references to classical literature with which educated people were assumed to be familiar.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Like yesterday's word this one is a Victorian spelling of something very similar nowadays - traditonary was simply another way of saying traditional.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Stanch is an old spelling of staunch;meaning firm; steadfast; loyal.