Weird Words

Excuse me while I absquatulate, but I fear my tendency to divagate renders me a blatherskite, resulting in fleering.

Huh? Before you consult a foreign-language dictionary, rest assured that this is plain, albeit seldom-used, English. It means, "I must dash before my rambling makes you all laugh and jeer."

If lexicographers at the new World Oxford Dictionary of English have their way, we will all be deipnosophists (someone skilled in after-dinner chat), once armed with their latest dictionary.

More than 400 words - from snollygoster (a shrewd or unprincipled person) to doryphore (an annoying and pedantic critic) are collected in the Oxford Dictionary of Weird and Wonderful Words, published Thursday. They also will be printed at the beginning of the New Oxford Dictionary.

The dictionary's lexicographers have compiled hundreds of obsolete but colorful terms - including blatherskite (a person who talks nonsense) in the hope of bringing them back into use.

The new dictionary came about as a form of light relief for word compilers of weightier tomes.

"We know people love unusual words, and so do we. It was an enjoyable sidebar to the core of our job. It's always nice to journey to the outer limits," said Angus Stevenson, project editor for English dictionaries at Oxford University Press.

Stevenson told Reuters he and his fellow researchers were eager to ensure some older words were not buried by Internet-inspired cyberspeak creeping into the language.

"There are some great old words that are being replaced by new trendy ones. I mean crapulous is a much better way to call someone drunk," he said.

So why call someone a fool when hoddy-noddy sounds so much nicer? Or alternatively you could try jumentous (resembling horse's urine).

And for those of you who want to know your hallux (big toe) from your oxter (armpit), the new dictionary is a must, Stevenson said.

"There are some great anatomical words in there - glabrous (hairless) is a winner."

"If any are going to make a comeback then I think it should be emacity, which means a fondness for buying things," said Stevenson. "Its time has come"




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