Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Odd English Words

 I've always loved odd words, and English is not only full of them now, but always has been. Sadly, a lot of the really fun-sounding words have gone into the mists of time. I used to get a regular email from World Wide Words, which the writer and etymologist, Michael Quinion, produced. Week after week, he and hundreds of his readers would add to our knowledge of the language by discussing new and old and crazy English words. Quinion no longer produces the regular emails/columns, but they're all still online here, are searchable, and fascinating to read. If you love words!

I'd like to keep the ball rolling a little by tweeting some of these words regularly under the hashtag #oddEnglishwords, and I'll reproduce the tweets here. 

16th March, 2022:

Though not a cow I have horns; Though not an ass I carry a pack-saddle; And wherever I go I leave silver behind me. The answer to this old English riddle is a hodmandod, a bumpy word we've replaced with the more prosaic 'snail.'

17th March, 2022: 

Next time a reporter tells us someone has been severely beaten in a street incident, perhaps they could use the phrase 'the victim was mammocked-up' instead.
Maybe the hospital emergency dept could adopt it too...