Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: DHOTI

DHOTI

a Hindi word. "A flowing garment" is what it says in the passage quoted, but my three desk dictionaries call it "a loin cloth worn by Hindi men." So do W2 and W3. Also dhooti.

Like most leaders of the movement, he does have a shaved head, a saffron-colored flowing garment called a dhoti, and streaks of Ganges River mud on his forehead.



from I Always Look Up The Word "Egregious" by Maxwell Nurnberg


Friday, April 18, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: MOLOCH

MOLOCH

the inexorable, all demanding God. Moloch, or Molech, was the god of the Ammonites, who burnt their children in his honour (Lev. xviii. 21 and 2 Kings xiii 10).

Milton in Paradise Lost, says that Moloch was worshipped in Rabba, Argob and Basan.

David took the crown from the head of the idol (2 Sam. xiii. 30) and Solomon built a high place for him (I Kings xi. 7).

The name is continually applied to any fiercely destructive person or state, such as personal tyrants, war, mob rule, the guillotine, etc.


from Word Origins: The Romance of Language by Cecil Hunt

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: CHAMER

CHAMER

A stupid fellow, especially a stubborn one. "Stanley Reed was 'the Chamer,' which means fool, or dolt, or mule in Hebrew" (Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter's private code-term for fellow Justice Stanley Reed, as recalled by Philip Elman, Columbia Oral History Project, 1983). See also DOLT, FOOL, MULE, and SCHNOOK.


from Wicked Words by Hugh Rawson

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: HUNKY-DORY

HUNKY-DORY (adj fr middle 1800s)

Satisfactory; fine; =COPACETIC: That may be hunky-dory...with the jumping and jiving youngsters--Bosley Crowther



from American Slang by Robert L. Chapman

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: YEN SHEE

YEN SHEE

Opium. Despite the declaration of several educated Chinese that they know of no word in their own language anything like the preceding as representing opium, it is easy to see that the underworld has taken the term from some Chinese root word or sentence.



from American Tramp and Underworld Slang ed. by Godfrey Irwin

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: DOGSBODY

DOGSBODY (n; chiefly British usage)

A menial; lowly pawn.



from American Slang by Robert L. Chapman

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: HARD-OFF

HARD-OFF

A woman who arouses no sexual interest whatsoever. "As my buddy in the marines used to say, those women are hard-offs" (personal communication, 11/8/86)



from Wicked Words by Hugh Rawson

Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: POOH-BAH

POOH-BAH

the holder of many offices simultaneously. The name is taken from the character, Pooh-Bah, in one of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan operas, The Mikado, or The Town of Titipu.

In the opera, Ko-Ko is nominated as the Lord High Executioner, and Pooh-Bah as "Lord High Everything Else."

This comic opera in two acts was first produced at the Savoy Theatre, London, on March 14, 1885.


from Word Origins: The Romance of Language by Cecil Hunt

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: ELEEMOSYNARY

ELEEMOSYNARY

for charity, given as charity, alms (which is a reduction of eleemosynary to a four-letter word).

Coming at the end of an impoverished musical season, this sprightly little show is an act of beneficience. For the deprived theatergoer, it seems positively eleemosynary.



from I Always Look Up The Word "Egregious" by Maxwell Nurnberg


Friday, April 4, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: DE MORTUIS NIL NISI BONUM

DE MORTUIS NIL NISI BONUM (day MOR too-is nill NEE see BOE num)

"Say nothing but good of the dead." Neat way to imply that something good to say would be hard to find. Especially useful in discussing one's family.



from The Phrase-Dropper's Handbook by John T. Beaudouin & Everett Mattlin

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: PIGEON-PAIR

PIGEON-PAIR 

twins of the opposite sex. 

[British, 1800s, Farmer and Henley]



from Slang and Euphemism ed. by Richard A. Spears

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: BORBOROLOGY

BORBOROLOGY

The stomach-like rumbling of unclean talk.



from The Grandiloquent Dictionary by Russell Rocke

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: ALDIBORONTIPHOSCOPHORNIO

ALDIBORONTIPHOSCOPHORNIO

A pompous person, not in words of one syllable but in a word of 10 syllables. This is what you call a long word. And why shouldn't there be an unduly long word, or sesquipedalian, for an individual who is unduly self-inflated and pretentious? From an old English burlesque with a title just as hard to pronounce, and later used by Sir Walter Scott to tag somebody he considered worthy of the name.



from Dimboxes, Epopts, and Other Quidams: Words to Describe Life's Indescribable People by David Grambs