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Weekes Words

An ever-lengthening vocabulary list of funky words I have encountered in my reading that need must be shared.

  • Stertorous: from the Latin stertere (to snore) and meaning laboured or noisy (as pertaining to breath). Ex: In order to drown out Aughra’s Stertorous breathing on the bus, Weekes popped in her headphones and cranked up the volume of her ‘The History of England’ podcast.
  • Penetralia: from the Latin penetralia (innermost things) and coming to mean a secret or hidden place by the mid 17th century. Ex: In the penetralia of her heart, Weekes  the Unwilling harboured a covetous desire to try on Æthelred the Unready’s ridiculous hat-crown-pot.
  • Rumbustious: from the late 18th century, probably an alteration of the archaic ‘robustious’ and meaning boisterous or unruly. Ex: Weekes’s bangs had a rumbustious life of their own, giving her the anachronistic appearance of  someone on the way to the mall to participate in a Glamour Shots photo session.
  • Celerity: from the Latin celer (swift) and Old French celerite, arriving at ‘celerity’ in the late 15th century and meaning swiftness of motion. Ex: The only time that Edward exhibits any kind of celerity whatsoever is when he hears the sound of his food bowls tinkling in the kitchen.
  • Rime: from Old English hrim (Germanic) revived at the end of the 18th century and meaning frost. It can also be used as a verb–as in to cover [an object] with hoarfrost. Ex: As Weekes made her way to the lighthouse in the midday sun, she dreamed of her body being rimed from head to toe.
  • Eft: derived from Old English efeta, the word is a synonym for newt. Ex: Cutting down efts, snakes, and birds alike, with rippling muscles Ross Poldark squashed every living creature that crossed the path of his mighty scythe.
  • Paroxysm: origins in ancient Greek from paroxynein (meaning to stimulate, also root for ‘oxygen’) appearing in 15th century English via French paroxysme and meaning a sudden attack or outburst of a particular emotion or activity. Ex:  Weekes gouged out her eyeballs in a paroxysm of rage after she witnessed the shoeless wonder heat her pungent fish curry in the office microwave.
  • Afflatus: from the Latin meaning to be blown upon and coming to English usage in the mid-17th century meaning a divine creative impulse or inspiration. Ex: Weekes was granted unprecedented afflatus the moment Sister Wendy’s cherished vessel of knowledge arrived on her doorstep.
  • Acrimony: from the Latin acrimonia and French acrimonie, entering English usage in the mid-16th century as ‘bitter taste or smell’ and now more generally meaning bitterness or ill feeling. Ex: All historians agree that Emma’s acrimonious affection towards her husband Æthelred and his sons can be easily attributed to his unquestionable rubbishness.
  • Diurnal: from the Latin diurnus, later diurnal in Middle English and meaning daily or of/during the day. Ex: Trolley Girl finally shirked her diurnal obligation to feed the masses of the Poowich Council, running screaming into the sunset.
  • Amanuensis: Latin, from (servus) a manu ‘(slave) at hand(writing), secretary’ + -ensis ‘belonging to’ and meaning a literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts. EX: Amanuensis to Sister Wendy, Weekes worked from dusk til dawn fetching tea and ensuring all papers and paintings were in order in the hermitage.
  • Interlunation: a period of blankness or darkness. Ex: During the interlunations of Weekes’s weeks, she took to her bed to recover from the unbearable annoyances of Poowich.
  • Procrustean: (adj) enforcing uniformity or conformity without regard to natural variation or individuality. Marked by arbitrary often ruthless disregard of individual differences or special circumstances. Ex: With a Procrustean zeal, B continued to indulge in Italian meats and sea life despite his bodily rejection of such evils.
  • Mawkishsentimental in an exaggerated or false way; sickly or puerilely sentimental; having an insipid often unpleasant taste.  Ex: The Florentine shrug off mawkish mantle of American service in favour of exhibiting genuine disgust for tourists and customers alike.
  • Scarper: evidently from ‘Vulgar Latin’ excappare and first used in 1846 meaning to flee or run away. Ex: Shoving Henry aside, Fair Rosamund scarpered from the mundane solitude of her tower to eagerly greet the Deliveroo driver at the edge of the maze.
  • Immolate: from the Latin immolare (immolat: sprinkled with sacrificial meal) and in the mid-16th century coming to mean kill or offer as a sacrifice, especially by burning. Ex: Before lovely Perdita could be immolated on the Thanksgiving pyre, Weekes swooped in and rescued her.
  • Declension: from the Old French declinaison and the Old English declinson and meaning a condition of decline or moral deterioration. Ex: Inextricably enmeshed in the Angevin empire, the declension of poor Alys was inevitable.
  • Vetch: from the Latin ‘vicia’ and meaning a widely distributed scrambling herbaceous plant of the pea family, which is cultivated as a silage or fodder crop. Ex: Desperate to evade a drunken and raging Caravaggio, Weekes pulled her dagger from her boot and waited trembling amongst the vetches until he passed.
  • Monition: from the Latin monere (warn) and coming to mean a warning of impending danger. Ex: B heeded not the monition of The Ghost of Raw Lamb Past as he laid his head down in the garret without a care in the world.
  • Sozzled: circa 1880 and from ‘sozzle’ (meaning to splash, intoxicate) alteration of ‘sossle’, probably frequentative of British dialect ‘soss’ (to mess) and meaning very drunk. Ex: Dry January Weekes looked back on Sozzled December Weekes and felt pea green with envy.
  • Doughty: Middle English word derived from the Old English word ‘dohtig’ and meaning brave and persistent, steadfastly courageous, valiant. Ex: There was no doubting that Weekes was doughty when she signed up to participate in Dry January.
  • Nabob: from the Hindi navāb and Urdu nawāb, from Arabic nuwwāb, plural of nā’ib (governor) and came into English usage as nawab -> nawbob -> nabob. Meaning (historically) a provincial governor of the Mogul empire in India. And more generally a person of conspicuous wealth or high status. Ex: A nabob in nature but pauper in practice, Weekes doggedly took her place in the valley of the shadow of books and set to work on Grub Street.
  • Mulligrubs: late 16th century and of unknown origin meaning feelings of melancholy, sullenness, and depression. Ex: Although La La Land certainly left Weekes with a case of the mulligrubs, she conceded that it was a film worth watching.
  • Gelid: from the Latin gelu -> gelidus-> gelid (17th century) and meaning icy or extremely cold. Ex: Why is bleak and gelid January the month in which we’re supposed to kneel to deprivation and face inevitable failure? WHHHHHHHY?!?!?!?
  • Lubricious: late 16th century from the Latin ‘lubricus’ meaning lecherous, salacious, smooth, slippery quality. Ex: Know of a lubricious gent trying to have it on with one of your gal pals? This Valentine’s Day, be sure to send her a ‘snake in the grass’ valentine so she’ll be duly warned!
  • Furbelow: from French ‘falbala’ (trimming, flounce) and meaning pleated or gathered piece of material, flounce. Ex: To her mother’s abject horror, Weekes cried, ‘Bring on the furbelows! The ribbons! The lace!’
  • Peculate: from the Latin perculat (embezzled) and coming to English use in the mid 18th century meaning to steal or embezzle money, especially public funds. Ex: Although Amalia Annoyington was a peculator and a fraud, all her transgressions were instantly forgiven and forgotten when she sent her kind regards to the judge and jury.
  • Pabulumsomething (as writing or speech) that is insipid, simplistic, or bland. Ex: To the dismay of her wretched readers, Weekes continues to write pabulum week after week.
  • Hokum: origin unknown, possibly a combo of hocus-pocus and bunkum and meaning pretentious nonsense; writing, music, etc., that is too dramatic or sentimental and not very original. Ex: Although B felt that Poldark was a load of hokum, he endured the show out of love for his very lucky wife.
  • Jackanape: origin unknown but coming to mean an impudent or conceited fellow. Ex: The train was filled with jackanapes and Weekes was required to retreat further and further into her coat to avoid their inconsiderate antics.
  • Cully: first used in the 17th century, of unknown origin and seems to have two sort of disparate meanings–either a man/friend OR someone who is easily tricked/a dupe. Ex: Taking Llywelyn for a cully, Joan and William hopped into bed together.
  • Tonsure: from the Latin ‘tonsus’ (the act of shearing) and meaning the shaven crown or patch worn by monks and other clerics OR a bald spot resembling a tonsure. EX: Being clear, the plastic bonnet did little to cover Jimmy’s glaring tonsure; his bald scalp, however, did manage to stay dry.
  • Bowdlerize: derived from Dr Thomas Bowdler’s name – he published an edited edition of Shakespeare in 1818 – and meaning  to censor a text and render it less effective. Ex: Even though a Khaleesi never bowdlerizes, Weekes was forced to conform to societal norms and bowdlerize her own cover letter, removing any hint of humour and human personality.
  • Obstreperous: surfacing in the late 16th century from Latin obstreperus and meaning noisy and difficult to control. EX: Despite the jingling cacophony and occasional (accidental?) stabbing of coworkers by swinging scissors, Weekes insisted on wearing her obstreperous chatelaine in the office.
  • Dandiacal: first used in 1831 (by some awesome person who makes fake adjectives out of nouns, like I do) and meaning relating to or characteristic of a dandy (which is, of course, a man who gives exaggerated attention to personal appearance). Ex: The dandiacal Pre-Raphaelites were so fussy about matters of dress that meetings of the BFF Art Club often came to a full stop over the small matter of crooked tie or inadequate ‘effortless’ bedhead.
  • Tittupped/Tittupping: (intransitive verb of tittup) first used in 1703 to describe the rhythmic sound a horses hooves and coming to mean to move in a lively manner often with an exaggerated or affected action. Ex: Staked behind a desk, she watched the students, professors, doctors come and go, titupping across the marble floor.
  • Derogate: from the Latin derogare and meaning to disparage or cause to seem inferior. Ex: Weekes managed to quell her desire to derogate her senior colleague who asked her if Lisbon was a town was in Germany.
  • Hierophant: a person who interprets sacred mysteries or esoteric principles. Ex: Despite not necessarily being in possession of the skills of a hierophant, Weekes felt that she would be an ideal candidate for Local Anchoress, and she updated her CV accordingly.

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