Words You've Learned from Reading and Writing

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Jason

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Diaphanous - (especially of fabric) light, delicate, and translucent.
 

Chris P

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Clochard - a beggar (possibly a French word the writer has used as if it were English)
 

oneblindmouse

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Clochard - a beggar (possibly a French word the writer has used as if it were English)

I, too, discovered clochard only last week, in Paris echoes by Sebastian Faulkes. (Excellent book!) One of the characters explains that the word derives from the bell or "cloche" that rang at closing time in Paris markets, after which the beggars would enter and scrounge for food that had been thrown away.
 

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It's cool not only to learn the word but its origin.

I'm sometimes amazed at how many people think a word or phrase stems from the 1960s when it's more like the 1650s.
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I ran across the word barmecide years and years ago in a Lord Peter short story. I assumed from context that it meant poisonous or lethal, the sort of thing where there's a trap door beneath a banqueting hall. Then I recently read Little Women, which used the word in a different context and it didn't sound like it meant that at all. Barmacide actually means an illusory or pretend abundance. The word was either popularized or coined by Dickens and refers to an illusory feast served to a beggar in the Arabian Nights.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 
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Chris P

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Bastinado​ - a form of corporal punishment in which the offender is beaten with a cane on the soles of the feet.
 

Jason

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pruritis - Severe itching of the skin, as a symptom of various ailments

(Apparently because my lab scratched herself during the annual exam, the vet had classified her as pruritic)
 

Keithy

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Chiaroscuro - an effect of contrasted light and shadow.
 

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Every time I pick up a book, I run into dozens of new words. The latest word I've come across is:
By-blow - an illegitimate child; bastard
 

Xelebes

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haaf - open sea, especially that which is fish-bearing

Learned this one while debating with other Germanic language speakers what happened to the Germanic word "hoff". We don't use hoff much except its diminutive, hovel. However, the Scottish use howff to mean a public drinking house on occasion. Someone asked about haven and it turned out it was related to heavy and the haaf.
 

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Yeah. Do you ever do that thing where you go to use a word in a sentence, then realise half way through saying it you've got no idea how it's pronounced, cos you've only ever read​ it? I do that a lot.

I honestly thought I was the only one.
 

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Not from a book, but from my husband: copacetic - all right, satisfactory, in good order. Apparently the US military uses it a lot?

I looked it up, and it's one of a few non-slang words of unknown origin. As in, the dictionary has no idea where it came from, only that it was first recorded in the 1920s and it's uniquely American. Wikipedia says it may have been from a misheard Yiddish expression.
 

frimble3

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Not from a book, but from my husband: copacetic - all right, satisfactory, in good order. Apparently the US military uses it a lot?

I looked it up, and it's one of a few non-slang words of unknown origin. As in, the dictionary has no idea where it came from, only that it was first recorded in the 1920s and it's uniquely American. Wikipedia says it may have been from a misheard Yiddish expression.
My father, never in the military, a West Coast Canadian, used it on occasion, when he was going for a 'light-hearted' effect. He was a kid in the '30's. I thought it was something he had picked up from the movies. I've always had the impression it was a musician's thing, jazz and all that.
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Funny it should be the men to seem to know the word. My husband who has never been in the military, and who is certainly no musician, uses it, but I'd never heard it before I married him.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

Chris P

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I always associate "copacetic" in connection with the beat poets and jazz musicians of the 30s to 50s.

A new word for me: Sapper: a soldier responsible for tasks such as building and repairing roads and bridges, laying and clearing mines, etc.
 

Chris P

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Propinquity: the state of being close to someone or something; proximity

Yep, I was able to dissect that word from its pieces-parts or the context.
 

Jason

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Banian - (or Banyan): an Indian fig tree whose branches produce aerial roots that later become accessory trunks. A mature tree may cover several acres in this manner.
 
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Chris P

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Encomium - a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly.

I'm glad I ran into this word. The word paean seems to get more use in today's English, but is a song or poem. I've been looking for the prose version, and now I've found it.
 

Chris P

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Need some help with this one, folks: shidepoke. The only plausible definition google (and from Urban Dictionary at that) returns is a green-backed heron. A book using the word in the title fits that, but it doesn't fit the context of the book I saw the word in ("Of the Farm" by John Updike, published 1965, well before the UD definitions for "shitpoke" likely developed). Any idea what Updike means?


And my mother, on her side, swept forward with a fabulous counter-system of which I was the center, the only child, the obscurely chosen, the poet, raped, ignorantly, from my ideally immaterial and unresisting wife and hurled into the shidepoke sin of adultery and the eternal curse of my children’s fatherlessness.
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Only thing I can think of is sidepoke, which would be a variant of sidekick. As in the adultery, etc., is an offshoot of the rest.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

TheListener

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Need some help with this one, folks: shidepoke. The only plausible definition google (and from Urban Dictionary at that) returns is a green-backed heron. A book using the word in the title fits that, but it doesn't fit the context of the book I saw the word in ("Of the Farm" by John Updike, published 1965, well before the UD definitions for "shitpoke" likely developed). Any idea what Updike means?

This mentions Shide-polk. http://elektratig.blogspot.com/2008/
I have also seen it referred to as a Democratic Party.

Updike is an author and the surname is Dutch.
 

Chris P

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This mentions Shide-polk. http://elektratig.blogspot.com/2008/
I have also seen it referred to as a Democratic Party.

Updike is an author and the surname is Dutch.

Thanks for the link! (And I was actually asking what Updike meant by the term, not what his name meant:))

The donkey as the symbol of the Democrats didn't come about until the 1870s with cartoonist Thomas Nast, but this is the first I've heard of them described as birds. The pun shide-Polk for President Polk is clever so maybe it only applied to him, or just for this cartoon.

I still have no clue what Updike meant by it in the passage I quoted, as he used it as an adjective in a nonpolitical context, and 120 years after it was applied to Democrats.
 

Keithy

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Claudication impairment or pain in walking that is relieved by rest.

When I saw it I thought it was a typo
 

Jason

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Need some help with this one, folks: shidepoke. The only plausible definition google (and from Urban Dictionary at that) returns is a green-backed heron. A book using the word in the title fits that, but it doesn't fit the context of the book I saw the word in ("Of the Farm" by John Updike, published 1965, well before the UD definitions for "shitpoke" likely developed). Any idea what Updike means?

Thanks for the link! (And I was actually asking what Updike meant by the term, not what his name meant:))

The donkey as the symbol of the Democrats didn't come about until the 1870s with cartoonist Thomas Nast, but this is the first I've heard of them described as birds. The pun shide-Polk for President Polk is clever so maybe it only applied to him, or just for this cartoon.

I still have no clue what Updike meant by it in the passage I quoted, as he used it as an adjective in a nonpolitical context, and 120 years after it was applied to Democrats.
Hey Chris,

So, I stopped in to re-visit the thread and see if another list was warranted (one is forthcoming), but wanted to speak to your question specifically, because it got me curious. So, off to the interwebs I went, and found a reference to the word shidepoke on the heron page on Wikipedia, which sort of confirms the suspicions you found from the Urban dictionary. To further validate that, the Wikipedia page also informed me that the 3rd edition of Webster's dictionary had it listed too, so off to the online Webster's dictionary I went, and while there was not a listing for shidepoke, shitepoke was there, and the derivative spelling was also present. Here are the links, in order:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heron
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heron#cite_note-13
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shitepoke

Now, in the course of this, the term looks to have originated from the tendency of the heron to defecate before taking flight, most specifically, when flushed. With that in mind, I went back to your Updike reference, and tried to shorten the sentence to it's most grammatically simplest form. When doing that, I got this:

And my mother...hurled into the shidepoke sin of adultery and the eternal curse of my children’s fatherlessness.

Given the etymology of the word, and the larger construct of the sentence, the way I read the meaning of this is that the wife in the story had essentially put the first-person on some kind of proverbial pedestal of sorts, where he was the center of attention, and to only be praised. So, the mother, to counter that, called him (the first person) out - or flushed him out for being the kind of guy who had children out of wedlock through his acts of adultery. So, basically, the author was flushed out where he suddenly must come face to face with the reality that he's kind of a shit, and not the greatest thing since sliced-bread, which he may have grown accustomed to.

Again, just my own interpretation of it, so take this with the grain of salt intended for opinions of one who's not even read the novel in its entirity. Just like all else, that's my 2¢ in a world where pennies are meaningless :)
 

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