Tag Archives: new words

Another Use for that Z-Tile

touzling – v.  rare spelling of tousling, to rumple or dishevel

Classical Usage:  After Tom Loeker is shot and shoved by our friends George and Phineas they rescue him and bring him to Grandmam Dorcas Stephens.  We don’t see him again for another 18 chapters.  Tom Loeker we left groaning and touzling in a most immaculately clean Quaker bed, under the motherly supervision of Aunt Dorcas who found him to the full as tractable a patient as a sick bison.

Classically Mad Usage:  The best news from my research of this obscure vocabulary is that although the definition is not readily available, it’s a completely legitimate Scrabble word.

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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin


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Collusitatingly Convincing

collusitate – v. to substitute a made-up word in order to increase your perceived intelligence

Classical Usage:  That’s right, collusitate is not actually a word, but Sam seemed to do a fine job of fooling his audience, me included, that it was:

“I tell you now, Andy,” said Sam, with awful superiority, “don’t yer be a talkin’ ’bout what yer don’t know nothin’ on; boys like you, Andy, means well, but they can’t be spected to collusitate the great principles of action.”

Andy looked rebuked, particularly by the hard word collusitate, which most of the youngerly members of the company seemed to consider as a settler in the case, while Sam proceeded.

Classically Mad Usage:  I intend to start collusitating all the time, for collusitations seem to be my only hope of gaining a collusitative effect on the intelligent readership on this blog.


Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin


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Feeling a Little Quoggy

Did you notice that the Classic Word of the Day has been missing this week?

No?  Oh.  Well, that’s okay.  I hardly noticed either, but there’s an exciting part – it isn’t because I forgot.  Nope, I just ran out of words.

Do you find that hard to believe?  You probably should, there are a boatload of boating words that I didn’t bother to define.  In fact, I not sure I knew what a frigate or lee was until I read each of them 3562 times over the last month and a half.

In addition to the skipped jargon, there is an entirely unexplored class of word floating around in MD.  And I do mean entirely unexplored.  You see, one day as I was researching the meaning of the word quoggy I came across an interesting article on JSTOR.  In fact, it was so intriguing that I signed up for a free trial of JSTOR (an on-line academic journal database) so I could read full content.

Here’s a link if you want to take it all in for yourself (free trial and all), but if not, I’ll do my best to summarize.  In “Melville’s Contribution to English” published in Modern Language Association’s journal, PMLA, James Mark Purcell introduces his readers to a list of words and phrases from Melville’s works which were not found in the leading historical dictionaries of the day.

Brand, spanking new words.  Melvillisms.  And not just one or two.  In Moby-Dick, we’re talking 36 original uses of our language.  Or his language.  Or language.  It’s all a little quoggy.

Purcell gives an annotated list (I fall for annotated lists everytime, folks, everytime) of all the words from Melville’s works with definitions where necessary.  Many of them are definitely whaling words, but here are a few that we could probably reintroduce into conversational language today (oh, and these meanings below are pretty heavily my own, don’t blame Purcell, unless I do, too):

block – a haircut
crescentric – Do you think he meant concentric, or crescentic and just got confused?
curios – The New English Dictionary credits Melville with the earliest use of this word.
curvicues – involved figurations, sort of like curlicues, yes?
Earthsman – as opposed to a Moonsman
flukes –  an exclamatory word, “Flukes!”
footmanism – toadyism, which is the practice of flattering others to elevate yourself.  I had to look it up.
furious – well, he was the first to use it as an adverb.  He wrote furious furious.
gardenny – now really, I add “y” the to the ends of lost of words and no one ever writes journal articles saying that I’m geniusy.
quoggy –                       that’s right, Purcell didn’t give us a definition, maybe because he doesn’t know one
squilgee – a mop for cleaning the decks of whale ships
Tic-Dolly-row – that which disturbs the mind and feelings

Flukes! Let’s incorporate these words furious to all Earthsman, just make sure their use doesn’t turn into footsmanism or cause anyone Tic-Dolly-row.


Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Moby-Dick


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