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A Repository of Interesting Words Encountered Whilst Reading

The Chapel of the Abyss

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Edited: Dec 8, 2009, 4:10pm Top

Dogshores: One of several shores used to hold a ship firmly and prevent her moving while the blocks are knocked away before launching.

Encountered in the Introduction to Sea-Wolves of the Mediterranean: The Grand Period of the Moslem Corsairs:

When the ship is ready for launching there comes a moment of tense excitement before the dogshores are knocked away and she slides down the ways.

Edited: Dec 9, 2009, 12:05am Top

Lots of interesting words in Insulting and Depraved English Wonderful stuff. Some arcane, some obscure, some oddly specific. Great fodder for this group.

From a review:

However, though rare, many other terms in the book have found their place in the pages of the Oxford English Dictionary, such as the invaluable and unjustly neglected egrote, to feign sickness in order to avoid work, and nihilarian, a person with a meaningless job. Others with some track record are gubbertush, a bucktoothed person; snivelard, someone who speaks through their nose, a whiny person; boodler, one who happily offers or accepts bribes; and syndyasmian, pertaining to promiscuous sexual pairing, or the temporary cohabitation of couples. And the title is not wholly correct, as not all the terms are insulting: for example, you will encounter callipygian for a person with nicely shaped buttocks.

Dec 9, 2009, 10:31am Top

See also The Superior Person's Book of Words and The Superior Person's Second Book of Words.

I've been examining some old texts on Internet Archive lately, and enjoying discovering "new" old and/or obsolete words.

Dec 9, 2009, 5:54pm Top

Have you seen this site?


Oct 30, 2011, 6:11pm Top

Sometimes they sound like pagan charms and don't need to be defined: gudgeons. gollops, groynes, pigwidgeons, fustilugs and spriggans.

Oct 30, 2011, 9:04pm Top

scrannel-harsh -- from The Dark Labyrinth by Lawrence Durrell. Used to describe the voice of a particularly unpleasant Protestant religious fanatic.

Oct 31, 2011, 1:54am Top

Ironic that "Scrannel-" should be used to "describe the voice of a
particularly unpleasant Protestant religious fanatic..." (6) My only previous seeing/hearing of it was by one of the greatest of militant Protestant writers, John Milton in his description of the Church of England clergy of his time (not militant ENOUGH for him):

"And when they list*, their lean and flashy songs
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw.
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
But, swollen with mist and the rank dew they draw
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread.

What more, the hungry wolf** with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing said.
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once and smite no more.

*lits: in modern English: wish

**wolf: probably a reference to the (not actually very numerorus) conversions that the Catholic Church was making.

Oct 31, 2011, 10:20am Top

Speaking of words used by unpleasant Protestant religious fanatics ... and their Catholic fellow travelers:


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