21.9.09

DEIPNOSOPHISTS,
STRIDEWALLOPS AND
SHOT-CLOGS

I love books like this and in fact have The Meaning
Of Tingo, the first offering by this author.

Deipnosophists, stridewallops and shot-clogs are
all celebrated in The Wonder of Whiffling, a
new book by Adam Jacot de Boinod.

Some are lost words redisovered, others are gems
from local dialects, but all are intriguing examples
of how English continues to be the most
quirky languge in the world.

The words include fornale, to spend one’s money before
it has been earned; cagg, a solemn vow or resolution
not to get drunk for a certain time; and petrichor,
the pleasant smell that accompanies the
first rain after a dry spell.


A stridewallop is a Yorkshire term for a tall and awkward
woman, while shot clog is an Elizabethan term for
a drinking companion only tolerated because
he pays for the round. Meanwhile, a
deipnosophist is a Jacobean word for
a skillful dinner conversationalist.


Yorkshire cements its reputation as a county responsible
for some of the English language's richest words by
coining crambazzled, used to describe someone
who is prematurely aged through
drink and a dissolute life.


English words from overseas are also included,
such as twack, a Newfoundland English word.
Twacks are shoppers who look at goods,
inquire about the prices but
never buy anything.


In his introduction, the author writes: "As a self-confessed
bowerbird (one who collects an astonishing array
of sometimes useless objects), I’ve greatly enjoyed
putting together this collection. I sincerely hope
that you enjoy reading it, and that it saves you
both from mulligrubs, depression of spirits,
and onomatomania, vexation in having
difficulty finding the right word."



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