Saturday, January 21, 2006

Great-Big Vocabulary Words

Wouldn'tcha know it...the very day after I recommend them to my loyal legions, EphemeraNow has gone and changed its name. It is now

I guess the "'59" refers to 1959. They say they want to make it easier for people to spell and to remember. I never had any problem with "ephemera," but I suppose I can see what they mean. There are a great many people in this country who seem to have trouble with "dog" and "cat."

But not you, my loyal bazillions! No, you love big words like "ephemera" -- you CRAVE new big words to learn and incorporate into your-already vast vocabularies.

So here's another fun feature I will occasionally incorporate into this Blog. It will be Our Great-Big Vocabulary Word for the Day. Just to inaugurate this feature, here is our word for today:

Which means, very simply, "honorable," or "with honor." It appears to have been borrowed from Latin, and has been used less than a handful of times in the history of English literature. Most famously, Shakespeare used it in Love's Labors Lost (Costard, Act V, Scene 1):
"O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words.I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word;for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon."
I dug up this priceless information at Which also says that a "flap-dragon" can either be a bowl of brandy-flaming raisins, snatched up and eaten in an Elizabethan game (think of it as early "Fear Factor"), or the darned fool who eats them.
World Wide Words also claims our word was used by James Joyce in Ulysses, but as it does not specify exactly where in the novel it appears, I am not ambitious enough to go and look it up.
Not all our words will be this long, but I wanted to start us off with a real humdinger. Eat smart, my dear ones, study hard, and someday you may be as radiantly brilliant as the Lormeister (Lormistress?). Or maybe not.


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