“What exactly is he sniffing?” I asked, as Phil was uploading this fellow to Tumblr this morning. “Pocket lint,” he says, “All the pocket cruft from all the pockets in all the world.”
I saw stars for a minute. “Cruft?,” a stupid grin spreading over my face.
“Yeah, cruft.” He looked puzzled.
“I might be a little giddy. I’ve never heard that before.”
I was a little giddy. I love words. I love collecting them, I love learning about them, I love coming across my favorites in everyday use. I love hearing other people’s favorites. I have a column in Tweetdeck just for etymology tweeters. My favorites are archaic ones, like Haggard Hawks and Old English Wordhord. I also really love Wordnik, which is a site devoted to archiving, defining, and curating words. You can create your own lists of words, you can Adopt a Word, you can look up history and usage of words, and you can subscribe to the Word of the Day email. Words.
Here, in no particular order, are some words I like. Just a few, I don’t want to spoil you.
- Salacious: adj. lascivious, bawdy, obscene, lewd.
It’s a word that does what it says on the tin. It’s just fun to say. Salaaaaaaaaacious.
- Rundle: n. a moat with water in it; a small stream; a rung, a step; a ball.
This was a Word of the Day find, and it came with a usage example from Viviette that has stuck with me – “I should get to be a fright – a bundle of ones and a rundle of skin – and you’d be horrified – I couldn’t bear it.”
- Nefarious: adj. wicked in the extreme; abominable; iniquitous; atrociously villainous; execrable; detestably vile.
I don’t know how this extremely grim word came to be associated with a lighter side of villainy for me, but it always calls up a sort of obvious, hokey baddie. Mustache and cloak. Hamburgler stuff. It’s also really fun to say, as are most of the words in its definition. Iniquitous. I like that one too.
- Snood: n. a small netlike cap worn by women to keep the hair in place.
Oh my, long-time favorite. Possibly my first favorite word. Never used to better effect than in White Christmas when Bing Crosby asks Danny Kaye, “What did you do with it, leave it in your snood?”
- Flosculation: (archaic) n. an embellishment or ornament in speech; to speak in flowery language.
Well, yeah. Another one that does what it says on the tin. Very unlikely to appear in ordinary conversation, but I would place bets on seeing it appear in a novel by China Mieville.
I could do this all day, but I don’t think you’d stick around for that. It’s Saturday. It’s probably nice out. You run along.
(This is day 22 of the Blaugust initiative.)