A Life Of Fiction LXXXIX

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.


More obscure words: In the post XXXVI I listed some obscure words which I felt that we should not allow to drop out of the English language. I did an A-Z then, featuring twenty-six words. But there are many more words which I like, other than the ones which I listed there. Here are a few more.

In selecting these words I have gone for the sorts of words which an author might actually have cause to use in his work. There are many obscure geological and botanical terms. But how often are you going to have an opportunity to use those?

These words come from a variety of sources. Some of them are from Collins English Dictionary. Others come from Foyle’s Philavery and Foyle’s Further Philavery. Some are from the dictionary section of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. I got some out of an article in the Review section of the Guardian newspaper for February 28th 2015. A few are words which I have encountered in other places. The word has to be both obscure yet useful. And I have had to add nearly all of them to my Word dictionary, as they nearly all come up with a little red line under them.

Well, here they are, an incomplete list of words which are obscure to me, even if some may not be obscure to you. If it is a word which I am familiar with – such as amanuensis – then I won’t put it in one of these lists.


Absterge: To wipe clean or purge.


Autumny: Relating to autumn (or Fall, of you’re an American). Everybody knows the word autumnal. But this is a useful variant.


Barton: This is a farmyard.


Cafard: This is a feeling of deep depression.


Cagg: This means to abstain from alcohol.


Candent: Incandescent.


Daggler: This is an icicle. It is a dialectal term from Hampshire.


Drabble: This word means to become wet or muddy; or to trail on the ground. There is another word, draggle, which has a similar meaning.


Dramshop: This is another word for a bar or a public house.


Flummut: This is slang meaning dangerous.


Fracted: This is an obsolete word which means broken. But the word sounds like its meaning, and is obviously connected to such words as fracture.


Gaberlunzie: This is a wandering beggar. I’ve had such characters in my tales (well, tramps), but did not know the word at the time.


Galimatias: This is gibberish. The word, I mean, not this post.


Gammer: This is an old woman, and the female equivalent of gaffer (for old man, not a worker on a movie).


Garth: This is a garden. The term is archaic.


Gascon: A boaster. The word presumably has Gascony, in France, as its origin.


Gasconade: Boasting. See the entry above.


Hask: Dry or coarse; or a cough, usually that of an animal.


Hoyden: This is a tomboy.


Jobbery: Corruption, usually by making private profit out of public office.


Keek: To peep.


Lampion: This is an oil-burning lamp.


Marish: Marshy or swampy.


Mobled: (As though) wrapped up in a hood.


Muley: (Naturally) hornless.


Neatherd: A herdsman.


Nim: This is to steal or thieve.


Owl-light: Dusk. This can have variant dialectal spellings, including eawl-leet.


Palter: To haggle; or to act or talk insincerely.


Quacksalver: This is another word for a charlatan.


Rackle: This is an adjective meaning impetuous. it comes from the Scots dialect.


Rubious: This is red or ruby-coloured.


Sawder: Flattery.


Slubberdegullion: A nasty and slovenly fool. Yes, I really like this word.


Smoored: This means to be smothered in a thick carpet of snow.


Teviss: This is slang for a shilling. It was used in London in the nineteenth century.


Trangam: This is an archaic word for a trinket or a gewgaw.


Vengesour: An avenger; a person who seeks revenge.


Vilipend: This means to disparage, or to claim that something is of little or low value.


Warth: This is a dialectal word for a ford.


Windhover: This is a synonym for a kestrel.


Wormling: A small worm. Really, you can create your own words by adding –ling onto the end, using it as a suffix for small or insignificant. One which I use quite often is princeling, despite the fact that Word tells me that the word does not exist.


Wynd: This is a very narrow street. It comes from the Scots dialect.


Yegg: This is a safecracker; and, more generally, a robber.


Yennap: This is slang for a penny. It comes from a form of back-slang which was used in nineteenth century London.


Zenana: This is another word for a Muslim harem.


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