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Lovely and abandoned words

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Wabbit, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. Wabbit

    Wabbit New Member

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    words! I devour them, yet still I hunger.
    While reading a book, I sometimes happily stumble across a wonderful word, or come across a turn of phrase that was once popular, and now is abandoned in regular usage!

    The word I came across recently is "incredulity." I love it! What a wondeful word!

    I think that Victorian era fiction, particually, is certainly filled with lots of wonderful words & turns of phrases no longer in common use.

    What wonderful words or turns of speach do you like/stumble upon in books that aren't commonly used?
     
  2. Gem

    Gem kickbox

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    The only ones that come to mind at the minute are;

    Bone Orchard - the cemetary

    'Come a Cropper' - come to ruin or failure.
     
  3. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    Not from any book, but Tom Waits' lyrics are always full of this stuff. Some favourites:

    Four sheets to the wind = drunk/out of control
    Make feet for children's shoes = have sex
    One-eyed jack = An oncoming car with one headlight out
    Rain dog = "...the ones you see wanderin' around after a rain. Ones that can't find their way back home. See the rain washes off the scent off all the mail boxes and the lamposts, fire hydrants."
    Wolf tickets = Bad news

    http://www.officialtomwaits.com/music/m_lyrdic.htm
     
  4. ValkyrieRaven88

    ValkyrieRaven88 New Member

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    I know several words that are pretty or cool and once-popular that aren't used anymore. But right now the only one I can think of is phantasmagoric. Maybe I need to make myself a list later.
     
  5. HermioneWeasley

    HermioneWeasley Member

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    Raven, i totally understand you. i can never remember any specific thing from a book off the top of my head! i'll have to make a list myself.
     
  6. novella

    novella Active Member

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    Hmmm, 'incredulity' seems to be very current and used to me.

    But, ah, the word 'knave' has unfortunately fallen by the wayside. And 'whelp,' as in "he was a whelp of a lad, with a gob of custard on his chin."
     
  7. StillILearn

    StillILearn New Member

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    Equipoise, cogent, succor.
     
  8. Halo

    Halo New Member

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    Both of these are in common usage around where I live. I like them though! :)
     
  9. cabrasopa

    cabrasopa New Member

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    Not from a book but anybody who has seen the movie 'Donnie Darko' will remember the scene where a english teacher stated that the most beautiful phrase in the english language was 'Cellar Door'

    A famous linguist once said that out of all the combinations of words in the English language, of everything ever spoken throughout history Cellar Door was the most beautiful.

    Well the linguist referred to was J R R Tolkien talking in a lecture (later an essay) comparing English and Welsh:

    Most English-speaking people, for instance, will admit that cellar door is beautiful, especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful. Well then, in Welsh for me cellar doors are extraordinarily frequent, and moving to the higher dimension, the words in which there is pleasure in the contemplation of the association of form and sense are abundant.
     
  10. Halo

    Halo New Member

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    Along the same lines as "knave", there's scoundrel and rapscallion (sp?). Scoundrel has a nice ring to it.
     
  11. beer good

    beer good Well-Known Member

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    Heh. Reminds me of comedian Bill Hicks' routine on British hooligans. "Ooooh, the hooligans are loose! What if they become... ruffians?!? If we corner them they might become scallywags!"
     
  12. Wabbit

    Wabbit New Member

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    words! I devour them, yet still I hunger.
    Really? I'm incredulous :p I only ever come across it in Victorian or Victorian period literature. Glad to hear that people are using it. As I said, it's a great word.

    Ah, Olde English has many great words! My absolute favourite is "vexed" but I also like "moxie".


    Damn! You have had me repeating "cellar door" over and over! It actually is quite beautiful.
     
  13. Dogmatix

    Dogmatix New Member

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    If you are interested in words... I get a daily email from Word-A-Day. Each week has a theme ; long words, phobias, french roots, or whatever. They profile a single word each day. I really enjoy it and there is no spam. The service is also free. My two favorites I've picked up are quotidian and peccavi.
     
  14. Donna Rose

    Donna Rose New Member

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    "Alas"...which has somehow worked its way into my normal speech (seriously)...I started using it as a joke maybe 4 years ago (because I love it so), and now I use it without even realizing it. Ah, great word, alas....

    D
     
  15. Wabbit

    Wabbit New Member

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    words! I devour them, yet still I hunger.
    I subscribe to that too. It's very interesting. I especially like to know the roots and evolution of words.


    Great word! I might have to start using it.

    Quite a few archaic and abandoned words litter my speach because they started out as a joke... Well, because I have an odd sense of humour and found them funny to use. They are: dammit, splendid, groovy, and vex
     
  16. direstraits

    direstraits Well-Known Member

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    Varlet.

    That stuck to my mind because Thor was screaming that to Loki in an issue of the Avengers that I read when I was young, and I remember flipping through the dictionary for the meaning. I do not look up words in dictionary - I'm incredibly lazy back then. I just wanted to know what the heck it was that he was saying, and was saying it so loudly. I found that saying that to my school friends did not have the intended effect.

    Also, valediction. Not so much as unused, but unused in the way that I use it. There's only one person I know who will understand this, because we learnt the word in school together. I'll go, 'Okay, that's it then. Valediction.' And laugh together.

    Yeah, I'm weird.

    ds
     
  17. tartan_skirt

    tartan_skirt New Member

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    In the last book I was reading I came across clandestine quite a lot and looked up it's meaning. Strangely enough my English teacher asked our class (of 5) if we knew what it meant and I knew! :D In my current book I've come across many words like this, but only wrote down 3 as I went.

    ubiquitous - knew what it meant, but I like how it sounds. :)
    filigreed
    seneschal - these last two I had no idea what they meant, but I think they're great! Filigreed is such a great word I wish I was back in Art so I could use it more. :p

    I really want a dictionary for my birthday. I come across plenty of words I don't know all the time and I don't like looking them up online. :(
     
  18. StillILearn

    StillILearn New Member

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    Vouchsafe. Purloin.
     
  19. pink shadow

    pink shadow New Member

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    I read a book where the villain was referred to as a "hatcher of nefarious plots". I love that word: nefarious
     
  20. Thickney

    Thickney kickbox

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    I use a lot in parlance, but the one that I like to use the most is "harlot". Mind you, many people take exception to being called that...
     

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