Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Forgotten English

My favorite bits of Forgotten English:

bespawl: Popular seventeenth-century verb for an insulting gesture, meaning specifically to "bespatter with saliva," whose origins are obscure.

prickmedainty: Sixteenth-century man-about-town who coifed himself in an overly careful manner, frequently seeking the services of a barber, and who was, by Jamieson's estimation, "ridiculously exact in dress or carriage."

fribbler: Eighteenth-century word for a man who expressed profound infatuation with a woman but was unwilling to commit himself to her.

flitterwochen: Old English expression meaning "fleeting weeks," the equivalent of what is now referred to as a honeymoon, or lune de miel in France. In Chaucer's time flitte meant "flee or pass away," as often does the initial passion of love.

farctate: The condition of being bloated or full following a large meal. This term hails from the Latin farcire, to stuff...


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