Friday leftovers: “He jirbles a dram . . .”

Cover of "The Word Museum: The Most Remar...


Reblogged from Death and Taxes:

Here are 18 uncommon or obsolete words that we think may have died early. We found them in two places: a book called The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk, and on a blog called Obsolete Word of The Day that’s been out of service since 2010. Both are fantastic— you should check them out.

Snoutfair: A person with a handsome countenance — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk

Pussyvan: A flurry, temper — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk

Wonder-wench: A sweetheart — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk

Lunting: Walking while smoking a pipe — John Mactaggart’s “Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia, 1824

California widow: A married woman whose husband is away from her for any extended period — John Farmer’s “Americanisms Old and New, 1889

Groak: To silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them –

Jirble: To pour out (a liquid) with an unsteady hand: as, he jirbles out a dram —

Curglaff: The shock felt in bathing when one first plunges into the cold water — John Jamieson’s Etymological Scottish Dictionary, 1808

Spermologer: A picker-up of trivia, of current news, a gossip monger, what we would today call a columnist — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk

Tyromancy: Divining by the coagulation of cheese — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk

Beef-witted: Having an inactive brain, thought to be from eating too much beef. — John Phin’s “Shakespeare Cyclopaedia and Glossary, 1902

Queerplungers: Cheats who throw themselves into the water in order that they may be taken up by their accomplices, who carry them to one of the houses appointed by the Humane Society for the recovery of drowned persons, where they are rewarded by the society with a guinea each, and the supposed drowned person, pretending he was driven to that extremity by great necessity, is also frequently sent away with a contribution in his pocket. — The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk

Englishable: That which may be rendered into English — John Ogilvie’s “Comprehensive English Dictionary, 1865

Resistentialism: The seemingly spiteful behavior shown by inanimate objects —

Bookwright: A writer of books; an author; a term of slight contempt — Daniel Lyons’s “Dictionary of the English Language, 1897

Soda-squirt: One who works at a soda fountain in New Mexico — Elsie Warnock’s “Dialect Speech in California and New Mexico,1919

With squirrel: Pregnant — Vance Randolph’s “Down in the Holler: A Gallery of Ozark Folk Speech,” 1953

Zafty: A person very easily imposed upon — Maj. B. Lowsley’s “A Glossary of Berkshire Words and Phrases,” 1888


Okay. Let me just pause here. Tyromancy, the divining by the coagulation of cheese? Does this mean that I can take a tub of cottage cheese, pour it onto a table, and see into the future? This seems just as foggy as Professor Trelawney’s crystal balls. And queerplunger? People used to make money by pretending to drown?

Admittedly, I have groaked before, or is that been a groak? But the most perfect one of all? Hands down, it’s Resistentialism! You all know of my penchant for anthropomorphism, so it’s nice to know that another words describes the persnickety nature of inanimate objects.

More later. Peace.

*Note on text: I don’t know if some of the references are articles or books. If in fact the titles are referring to books, there should be no quotation marks, only italics; if the titles are referring to articles, then quotations marks are used with the comma falling inside the quotation marks. In US punctuation, the comma and period always fall inside the quotation marks. I have made corrections accordingly.

Music by Martha Wainwright, “Question of Etiquette”


4 thoughts on “Friday leftovers: “He jirbles a dram . . .”

  1. Who knew there were so many obsolete words? I wonder how many I use? It turns out that I use some words that aren’t words, like alot. Maybe this English course I am taking will make me stop using it!

    My niece and her husband and daughter came through today on their way home from a short vacation at the coast. They took some of us to a play called “Animals in Wonderland” that was cute. Lots of dancing and costumes and animal characters. Perfect for an almost 7 year old. We had fun.

    My niece’s daughter likes mermaids, so I suggested they hit Norfolk on one of their next vacations…

    Finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green yesterday and enjoyed reading it. Might have to see if the library has any more of his books. Or, maybe some of the Neil Gaiman books…

    Spring break next week… I am looking forward to sleeping in…

    I hope you will have a happy Easter! Son #2 & Wife are going to her Grandparent’s house for dinner. Son #1 and I realized that we really didn’t have anything very exciting to cook for Easter dinner. I thought we could go to the store tonight and find something, but he decided we could just wing it. Maybe we’ll have french toast for Easter. Or eggs.

    I hope you will have something more exciting than eggs… or, at least, that you enjoy whatever you have for Easter dinner…

    1. I’ve been wrangled into cooking dinner by my mother. Usually nothing happens in my house for Easter dinner. So I’m cooking a roast and accoutrements. Truthfully, I could just stay in bed and read. It’s rainy and gloomy, and the last thing I want to do is cook.

      Yes, Norfolk for mermaids. Mermaids everywhere. Did you hear about the to-do when they first came out about how some people wanted their breasts to be covered? Puh-leez.

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