A recent conversation went along the following lines:
Me: Do you have a favorite word?
Friend 1: No.
Friend 1: Yes, no.
Me: No, as in the word or no, you have no favorite?
Friend 1: Yes.
Me: That’s a horrible word!
Friend 2: I like scum.
Friend 1: No scum!
Friend 2: It’s a noun, an adjective, a verb. Scum is really versatile.
Friend 1: Especially on your shower door.
Me: Well, that’s better, I guess. I was thinking along the lines of syzygy. It’s unusual, with wonderful meaning and even design, with the only vowels “y”
Friend 1: No!
Friend 2: It’s not a palindrome like scum.
Me: I don’t think palindrome means what you think it means.
Friend 1: Mirror image words.
Friend 2: Sure. That’s scum.
Friend 1: See! There’s a reason it’s my favorite.
I tried to send them back, but the store doesn’t permit exchange or refund on friends. All sales are final.
Why is it that the archaic terms are so much fun to utilize now that they are rarely in use? Such wonderful exclamations as alas, alack, forsooth and prithee have fallen out of fashion, but are still such fun and so much more meaningful than our current usage of “Sucks!” or “Snap!” or “Dude!” (Perhaps I show my age with the 1980s vibe of that last one, still, I stand by my declaration!)
So here are the words I would like most to see return:
The obvious exclamations:
- Alas! – A negative interjection akin to “Oh, no!”
- Alack! – Similar to alas with a poetic connotation to it, it quite literally stems from the conjunction of “a lack” – alternatives include alackaday!
- Prithee! – Originally this was a bastardization of the phrase “I pray of thee” and was used in contempt for the triviality of the topic at hand.
- Forsooth! – literally meaning “in truth” or “in fact” although it is often used as an expression of disbelief.
- Fie! – an interjection of disgust, approbation or annoyance.
- Aroint! – be gone – often useful with the various insults.
- Froward (n.) – stubborn or perverse – what a great combination of to frown and to be a coward! A frowning coward, stubbornly holding his ground.
- Fanfaron (n.)- an empty braggart – the clarion sound of an idiot blowing his own horn.
- Swoopstake (adj.) – a person or action in indiscriminate manner – perfect for certain tawdry lasses with excessive displays of PDA!
- Ludibrious (adj.) – apt to be a subject of jest or mockery
- Jollux (n.) – A fat person – a jolly oxen sort of notion? It still seems to fit aptly!
- Hoddypeak (n.) – an idiot, a simpleton
- Brabble (v.) – a cross between a brawl and a squabble, a brabble is the ultimate trifling quarrel.
- Malagrugrous (adj.) – Dismal – a scottish word that refers to the wrinkling of the brow
- Jargogle (v.) – to confuse and jumble, mixing things up
- Kench (v.) – to laugh loudly, uproariously in an embarrassing fashion
- Quagswagging (adj.) – shaking or wobbling to and fro – useful in a variety of entertaining and questionable situations.
- Widdendream (n.) – a Scottish word meaning a state of mental disturbance or confusion – many times we may feel this but not have a proper word to explain the sensation!
So whether it be widdendream or a jargogling of terms that makes you brabble or kench, you’re no ludibrious hoddypeak. Only a swoopstake froward would be crying fie upon you for alas and alack, we have no words forsooth to communicate how you feel.