Words (8/19 to 8/25)

The Dictionary.com “Words of the Day” for the past week, with that website’s definitions and word origins, and the date of first known use taken from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (except where noted).

8/19: Runic (adjective) having some secret or mysterious meaning. Origin: Runic comes from the Old English rūn, “secret.” First Known Use: 1690

8/20: Conglobate (verb) to form into a ball. Origin: Conglobate originates with the Latin conglobare, made from the roots con-, “together,” and glob, “round,” and -ate, “possessing the nature of.” First Known Use: 1635

8/21: Odoriferous (adjective) yielding or diffusing an odor. Origin: Odoriferous enters English from a similar Latin word. First Known Use: 15th century

8/22: Glace (noun) ice placed in a drink to cool it. Origin: Glace derives from the Canadian-French word for “ice.” First Known Use: 1845

8/23: Hobson jobson (noun) the alteration of a word borrowed from a foreign language to accord more closely with the linguistic patterns of the borrowing language. Origin: Hobson-jobson is an example of its own definition: British soldiers’ mangled Anglicization of the Arabic cry they heard at Muharram processions in India, Ya Hasan! Ya Husayn! (“O Hassan! O Husain!”) First Known Use: 1625-1635 (Dictionary.com)

8/24: Collogue (verb) to confer secretly. Origin: Collogue appears in print around 1600, perhaps a blend of collude and dialogue. First Known Use: 1646 (again, according to Merriam-Webster)

8/25: Footle (verb) to act or talk in a foolish or silly way. Origin: Footle has an uncertain origin. One candidate is the French se foutre, “to care nothing.” Another possibility is the Dutch vochtig, “damp or musty.” First Known Use: 1892

I couldn’t attempt a sentence this week without footling.  Sorry.

As usual, we are presented with seven quite interesting ideas this week, although I can’t say I find the words themselves to be especially good this time. Runic and odoriferous are the only words I had seen before. The latter has as a secondary definition “morally offensive,” which isn’t always included in dictionaries. The word has a nice dignity in counterpoint to its reference. Runic is another fun word to use around people who don’t know what it means, but it dawns on me that the amount of fun a person can have with that might be pretty limited.

Conglobate should be easily understood based on context, to the point where I think the context would be sufficient, with no need to stick in such a technical-sounding term.

Glace has nice specificity for culinary writing. I found other food-related meanings for the word, as well.

Hobson-jobson helpfully provides itself as an example of its own definition. Still, I think the idea is more profitable than the actual word in this case. Much thought could be devoted to how words borrowed from other languages lose their unique sound in the transfer.

Collogue is a very old-fashioned-sounding word. The suggestion that it may be a portmanteau of “collude” and “dialogue” is a nice idea, which clarifies the specific meaning of the word. But I don’t see getting much use from it. The same with footle. Going with a synonym would probably be a good idea.

I don’t have a favorite word this week. So, between that and the lack of a good sentence example, I just don’t have much to say about this batch. Perhaps I should take that as a challenge to incorporate each of these words into something, to give them their due. Or perhaps one of you will.

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