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The New Words Thread: Things you ran across, remembered, or had to look up

As the title implies, this is a thread to add the new words you come across from time to time, or words that you had to look up, or words you found intersting and wanted to share.

 

I'll start with these five, which I've recently learned:

 

This word has been running around in my head for a week, but I didn't know the definition or where I picked it up.

 

feckless

adjective

1. ineffective; incompetent; futile: feckless attempts to repair the plumbing.
2. having no sense of responsibility; indifferent; lazy.
 
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One I haven't come across in a long time. Just read it in a book. I recognized it, but had to look the meaning up.

 

parvenu

noun

a person who has recently or suddenly acquired wealth, importance, position, or the like, but has not yet developed the conventionally appropriate manners, dress, surroundings, etc.

 

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Ran across this in a short story by Washington Irving.

 

termagant

noun

1.  a violent, turbulent, or brawling woman.
2. ( initial capital letter ) a mythical deity popularly believed in the Middle Ages to be worshiped by the Muslims and introduced into the morality play as a violent, overbearing personage in long robes.
 

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felicific

adjective

causing or tending to cause happiness.

 

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gaumless

adjective Chiefly British Informal .

lacking in vitality or intelligence; stupid, dull, or clumsy.

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Nice. I love collective nouns. 

A word I came across in a book of Essays by A.R. Wallace 

Nidification  

Noun Wikitionary

nidification (countable and uncountable; plural nidifications)
The building of a nest.

Ooh, I like this one. This is the word of the day on Dictionary.com. What a lovely sounding word.

soigné \ swahn-YEY; Fr. swa-NYEY \ , adjective;
1. carefully or elegantly done, operated, or designed.
2. well-groomed.

Due to the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, the word aftermath keeps cropping up as news reporters broadcast from the scene of all that destruction. So I began to be curious about the origin of the word aftermath, since it is 1.) kind of an odd word similar to understand (what does under + stand have to do with comprehension?), 2.) unique (we don't have words like beforemathovermath, etc.), and 3.) has limited applicability. 

I was certain that the -math had nothing to do with mathematics for the same reason cat has nothing to do with catalogue. But what then was its origin?

Well, this is from etymonline: 

aftermath (n.) 
1520s, originally a second crop of grass grown after the first had been harvested, from after + -math, a dialectal word, from Old English mæð "a mowing, cutting of grass" (see math (n.2)). Figurative sense by 1650s.

And:

math (n.2) 
"a mowing," Old English mæð "mowing, cutting of grass," from Proto-Germanic *mediz (cf. Old Frisian meth, Old High German mad, German Mahd "mowing, hay crop"), from PIE *me- "to cut down grass or grain with a sickle or scythe" (see mow).

First recorded use is from 1520! That's a good long period of usage. And the math had to do with the cutting of grass. Who'd a thunk it!

This is clearly one of those words whose usage has drifted from the original meaning, like decimate has. 

landlubber

- noun

an unseasoned sailor or someone unfamiliar with the sea.

Etymology

landlubber (n.) 
also land-lubber, sailor's term of contempt for a landsman, c.1700, from land (n.) + lubber (q.v.).

lubber (n.) 
mid-14c., "big, clumsy, stupid fellow who lives in idleness," from lobre, earlier lobi "lazy lout," probably of Scandinavian origin (cf. Swedish dialectal lubber "a plump, lazy fellow"). But OED suggests a possible connection with Old French lobeor "swindler, parasite," with sense altered by association with lob (n.) in the "bumpkin" sense. A sailors' word since 16c. (cf. landlubber), but earliest attested use is of lazy monks (cf. abbey-lubber). Cf. also lubberwort, the name of the mythical herb that produces laziness (1540s); and Lubberland "imaginary land of plenty without work" (1590s). Sometimes also Lubbard (1580s).

shilly-shally

verb (used without object)
1. to show indecision or hesitation; be irresolute; vacillate.
2. to waste time; dawdle.

noun
3. irresolution; indecision; vacillation: It was sheer shilly-shally on his part.

adjective
4. irresolute; undecided; vacillating.

adverb
5. irresolutely.

I've heard that word but only guessed at the meaning because of the context (I wasn't too far off).

Thanks Dallas

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