duckbill has looked up 1885 words, created 31 lists, listed 439 words, written 93 comments, added 2 tags, and loved 0 words.

Comments by duckbill

  • "The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts. He ascribes all his failure to get on in the world, all of his congenital incapacity and damfoolishness, to the machinations of werewolves assembled in Wall Street, or some other such den of infamy. "

    August 19, 2011

  • A torchecul

    May 5, 2011

  • A cry to make asses go faster.

    April 24, 2011

  • Upside down; with one's arse uppermost (see arse and topsy turvey).

    April 24, 2011

  • Outlet

    April 24, 2011

  • Theozoologie oder die Kunde von den Sodoms-Äfflingen und dem Götter-Elektron ("Theozoology, or the Account of the Sodomite Apelings and the Divine Electron")

    April 24, 2011

  • See Odinism

    April 24, 2011

  • Used in the sense of 'manic-depressive' in some literature.

    April 24, 2011

  • "I have suggested that one possible concretization we can give to the concept of God as it has been held over the centuries is as God-in-Man (the Theopsyche as I ventured to label it). The Theopsyche is the island of love, rationality, and protectiveness that an advanced society can produce." - Raymond Cattell, Beyondism, page 78

    April 24, 2011

  • Thank you for your comment on robidilardic and fanfreluches. Do you know anything about rataconniculation?

    April 23, 2011

  • This list mostly contains words that are not defined in any dictionary, or used by Rabelais in an unusual or obsolete sense.

    April 23, 2011

  • Faith

    "swearing by her fig"

    April 23, 2011

  • The orifice of the menstrual veins and arteries.

    ". . . the cotyledons of her matrix were presently loosed, through which the child sprang up and leaped. . ."

    April 23, 2011

  • A hag.

    April 23, 2011

  • An alternate spelling of basta.

    April 23, 2011

  • The game of skittles

    "Stiff drinkers, brave fellows, and good players at the kyles."

    April 23, 2011

  • 'Burrowing' (?)

    "And if any blame them for this their rataconniculation," &c.

    April 23, 2011

  • Pretentious ornamentation.

    April 23, 2011

  • Probably coined from rober (=derober) and lard, with an allusion to the great cat Robilardus (bacon-eater).

    "Moreover upon these grounds they have foisted in their Robidilardic, or Lapiturolive law." - Rabelais

    April 23, 2011

  • This probably means conundrums. It appears in Rabelais.

    "Antidoted Fanfreluches"

    April 23, 2011

  • See wax

    "In that book the said genealogy was found written all at length, in a chancery hand, not in paper not in parchment, nor in nax, but in the bark of an elm-tree."

    April 23, 2011

  • No, it is not a portmanteau. It simply comes from Latin perennis.

    April 23, 2011

  • As an adjective:

    "It was sweet to see them so frolic."

    April 23, 2011

  • "These two did oftentimes do the two-backed beast together, joyfully rubbing and frotting their bacon 'gainst one another, in so far, that at last she became great with child of a fair son, and went with him unto the eleventh month."

    April 23, 2011

  • "dried neat's tongues."

    April 23, 2011

  • See Gothic

    "His noble leaves appear / Antic and Gottish."

    April 23, 2011

  • Also the opposite of lustre.

    April 22, 2011

  • he had been deeply initiated into what is called the world, while I was yet in my novitiate

    April 21, 2011

  • I prefer ludicrousness. I like to keep my '-osities' at a minimum in writing.

    April 21, 2011

  • Whether French or English, it isn't consonant with Greek principles of word formation.

    It's just as objectionable in French as in English.

    April 20, 2011

  • Bilby,

    Again, you assume that common usage alone determines legitimacy. That is not so. Incidentally,

    "There's no evidence that gasometer is substandard now let alone centuries ago."

    As early as 1809 we find William Creighton complaining of "that barbarous improper term Gasometer". The Electric Review (1908) speaks of "that incorrect word gasometer". Elsewhere we find it described as a "misnomer" and a "barbarous hybridism".

    April 20, 2011

  • Bilby,

    The word 'twitteral' is intended to be humourous. It is formed, not by analogy with other words ending in -al, but merely because it rhymes with literal. That it is intended to be funny only supports my argument.

    That the word 'gasometer' appears in dictionaries is hardly relevant. Dictionaries merely describe how people use the language, whether standard or substandard, not how they ought to use it. For the latter we consult style guides.

    April 20, 2011

  • PossibleUnderscore,

    I anticipated your argument and addressed it in a previous message. I make a distinction between living English and dead English, and explain when Latin and Greek rules of word formation are to be followed, and when they are to be ignored. The loosening of all the rules which have hitherto governed the English language is one reason why English literature is in such a hopeless muddle today.

    April 20, 2011

  • Cinabar becomes red by the acid exhalation of sulphur, which otherways presents a pure and niveous white. - Brown.

    April 20, 2011

  • I don't think so. Words can live on even when the constituent parts of them are dead. For example, although the word tidal is very much alive, the -al suffix is no longer living English. To determine this we need only try to connect it to a word of English derivation, say, the word 'hill'. The result, hillal, is clearly a monstrosity. I would argue that -o-, in the same way, is not part of our living language, even though it occurs (correctly or incorrectly) in many English words; and so any new words which make use of this connecting element ought to follow Greek rules of word formation.

    April 20, 2011

  • Yarb, Bilby,

    In forming new words one should always make a distinction between suffixes and root words which, though originally Greek or Latin, are now living English, and those which are dead. As examples of the former, -able and -dis may be given, whilst -ous, -ance, and -o- are examples of the latter. Living suffixes can be used with some freedom to form new words, even if contrary to the original rules of Latin or Greek word formation, or connected to words of Anglo-Saxon derivation, without injury to propriety. Dead affixes, though they still appear in many words (coined when the affixes were still 'living'), would be out of place in any new words. Example: hittance, strikance, keepance. These coinages wouldn't work because -ance is no longer a living English suffix; if it is to be used at all, it should be with Latin words and in strict accordance with the rules of Latin word formation. Similarly, the Greek -o- is not living English.

    April 20, 2011

  • Bilby,

    Because it is bad Greek. It is so formed as to outrage that language's principles of word formation. Word-making should be done by those who know how to do it, not by laymen or engineers who know no Latin and less Greek. Literate speakers of English are generally not to be found in workshops and manufactories.

    April 20, 2011

  • 1.) Wornik should include an etymology section for each word. Etymonline is the best online resource for English etymology.

    2.) Wordnik should incorporate supplementary dictionaries and glossaries for obscure and rare words. The inclusion of Samuel Johnson's dictionary would also be an improvement.

    3.) The 'Examples' section should include usages taken from Project Gutenberg. Too often you get examples about the word, usu. from personal websites.

    April 20, 2011

  • Bilby,

    Whoever coined the term was either shameless or knew nothing of word formation. The classical connecting vowel -o- is quite out of place at the end of gas. 'Gas metre' should have been used instead of the present monstrosity.

    This is only one example of a number of illiterate formations ending in 'meter' - speedometer, floodometer, &c.

    April 20, 2011

  • 1. A filthy, slobbering person; a sloven, a villain, a fiend, a louse.
    2. A worthless person.
    3. A drunk, and/or an alcoholic

    April 20, 2011

  • A brother on the mother's side, but by a different father.

    "Edmund of Haddam (was) womb-brother to King Henry the Sixth."

    April 20, 2011

  • A barbarism, avoided by those seeking to speak literate English.

    April 20, 2011

  • We speak of a person's CARRIAGE in public, and of his DEPORTMENT in private life.

    April 20, 2011

  • Cords untwisted and reduced to hemp, with which, mingled with pitch, leaks are stopped.

    They make their oakum, wherewith they chalk the seams of the ships, of old seer and weather beaten ropes, when they are over spent and grown so rotten as they serve for no other use but to make rotten oakum, which moulders and washes away with ever sea as the ships labour and are tossed. Ral.

    Some drive old oakum thro’ each seam and rift;
    Their left hand does the calking-iron guide;
    The rattling mallet with the right they lift. Dryden.


    Dr. Johnson

    April 20, 2011

  • Behold denotes a looking with interest or fixed observation.

    To see, on the other hand, can be the result of either voluntary or involuntary looking. The flash of lightning is only just seen and disappears.

    Curiosity prompts us to look, interest causes us to behold, and nature enables us to see.

    Charles Smith, Synonyms Discriminated

    April 20, 2011

  • Quickness of sight.

    April 20, 2011

  • Earth calcin’d, flies off into the air; the ashes of burning mountains, in vulcano’s, will be carried to great distances.

    April 19, 2011

  • Towards his queen he was nothing uxorious, nor scarce indulgent; but companionable and respective. Bacon.

    That uxorious king, whose heart, though large,
    Beguil’d by fair idolatresses, fell
    To idols foul. Milton’s Paradise Lost.

    How would’st thou insult,
    When I must live uxorious to thy will
    In perfect thraldom, how again betray me? Milton.

    April 19, 2011

  • All the yeanlings which were streak’d and pied,
    Should fall as Jacob’s hire.
    Shakespeare.

    April 19, 2011

  • A cant word, corrupted from higgle, which denotes any confused mass, as higglers carry a huddle of provisions together.

    April 19, 2011

  • from ἕλμινθος

    April 19, 2011

  • From gemelli and pario, Latin.

    April 19, 2011

  • A prison; a place of confinement. It is always pronounced and too often written jail, and sometimes goal.

    April 19, 2011

  • Mentioned in Dr. Johnson's dictionary:

    Dággersdrawing. n.s. (dagger and draw.) The act of drawing daggers; approach to open violence.

    They always are at daggersdrawing,
    And one another clapperclawing. Hudibras, p. ii. cant. 2.

    I have heard of a quarrel in a tavern, where all where at daggersdrawing, ’till one desired to know the subject of the quarrel. Swift.


    April 19, 2011

  • Daffodowndilly. This plant has a lily-flower, consisting of one leaf, which is bell-shaped, and cut into six segments, which encircle its middle like a crown; but the empalement, which commonly rises out of a membranous vagina, turns to an oblong or roundish fruit, which is triangular, and gapes in three parts; is divided into three cells, and full of roundish seeds. Miller.

    Strew me the green ground with daffodowndillies,
    And cowslips, and kingcups, and loved lilies. Spenser.

    Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed,
    And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
    To strew the laureate herse where Lycid lies. Milton.

    April 19, 2011

  • The child's way of expressing father. It is remarkable, that, in all parts of the world, the word for father, as first taught to children, is compounded of a and t, or the kindred letter d differently placed; as tad, Welsh; ἄττα, Greek; atta, Gothick; tata, Latin. Mammas atque tatas habet Afra, Mart.] Father.

    I was never so bethumpt with words,
    Since first I call’d my brother’s father dad. Shakesp. K. John.

    His loving mother left him to my care;
    Fine child, as like his dad as he could stare! Gay.

    (Johnson's Dictionary)

    April 19, 2011

  • audacious.

    April 19, 2011

  • The word is an unauthorised barbarism.

    April 19, 2011

  • "The landlady saw, calmly put down her work, and coining up, pulled a hircine man or two hither, and pushed a hircine man or two thither, with the impassive countenance of a housewife moving her furniture." Cloister and Hearth, ch. xxiv.

    April 19, 2011

  • Occurs in Carlye's Heroes and Hero-Worship.

    April 19, 2011

  • Yarb,

    It occurs as a verb in William Hope Hodgson's novel, The Boats of the "Glen Carrig".

    April 19, 2011

  • "What am I to do with this . . . daughterling of mine? She neither grows in wisdom nor in stature." Bronte, Villette, chapter xxv.

    April 19, 2011

  • Used by John Baker (1974)

    April 19, 2011

  • Literally, 'east european'. It occurs in some anthropological literature.

    April 19, 2011

  • Similar to ethnology, this word was used by William Shockley.

    April 19, 2011

  • A fake word that hardly merits an entry

    April 19, 2011

  • "The lions in Mesopotamia . . are destroyed by gnats; their importunity being such in those paludious places, that the lions by rubbing their eyes grow blind, and so are drowned."—Gauden, Tears of the Church, p. 60.

    April 19, 2011

  • Very often used with a subaudition of humbug.

    April 19, 2011

  • "To conquer or die is no theatrical palabra in these circumstances, but a practical truth and necessity." - Carlyle

    April 19, 2011

  • A rare word meaning the study of ancient races:

    "It is of course of great importance to the students of palaeoethnology and archaeology . . ."

    April 19, 2011

  • Means picturesqueness:

    "One cannot enough praise the expression and paintingness of the style." (1801)

    April 19, 2011

  • "Leave a twinkling eye to owlie sights"

    April 19, 2011

  • A vulgarism.

    April 19, 2011

  • Occurs in Thomas Middleton:

    "If we let slip this opportuneful hour
    "Take leave of fortune."

    April 19, 2011

  • Means skeleton.

    "I hear she's grown a mere otomy." - Swift

    April 19, 2011

  • Towards or at the middle of. Occurs in Arabian Nights.

    April 19, 2011

  • Charles John Smith, in his book Synonyms Discriminated, makes a useful distinction between apposite and relevant:

    "Apposite expresses a quality, relevant a force. A remark is apposite which harmonizes with the case under consideration. An observation is relevant which helps the main question to a decision. . . . The apposite elucidates, the relevant promotes discussion. The apposite is a proposition; the relevant either an argument, or something which links itself to an argument. Apposite remarks are commonly made in general conversation by persons not taking a main part in the discussion, but throwing in pertinent sayings as listeners. The relevant owes its force solely to its argumentative appropriateness; the apposite is also timely, and often tells with peculiar effect upon the conjuncture at which it is introduced.

    April 19, 2011

  • Provisions. Provant is a verb meaning to supply with provender or provisions.

    April 19, 2011

  • Otious (from Latin otium, ease or rest) is an alternate spelling.

    An important shade of meaning is without painstaking:

    "(Jesus Christ would warn his listeners) against the otiose attention of curiosity or mere intellectual interest, and would fix upon their minds a sense of their moral responsibility for the effects produced by what they heard."

    Paley speaks of "otious assent".

    Dean Alford speaks of an "otiose and unprofitable way of keeping the Sabbath".

    April 19, 2011

  • A rare spelling of a rare word. See A Supplementary English Glossary by Thomas Lewis: "OTIOUS, leisurely. Otioise is sometimes used, though Latin does not give the word, and Roman only cites Paley for it."

    April 19, 2011

  • Presumably from vulgar “sad sack of sh-t”; Cartoonist Sgt. George Baker said he took from a “longer phrase, of a derogatory nature”. The term originally referred to a well-meaning but inept soldier.

    April 18, 2011

  • "(he gave the lad) a stiff jorum of the rum." - William Hope Hodgson

    April 18, 2011

  • Used as a verb by William Hope Hodgson: "the giant cuttle fish . . . slid back into the deep water, . . . gouting blood."

    April 18, 2011

  • "oculate paradise"

    March 7, 2011

  • Means morning.

    March 7, 2011

  • "I spend my doleful days in dumps and dolors."

    March 1, 2011

  • "showing ... the bloom along the incurvation of her spine"

    March 1, 2011

  • "The plump, glossy little Eskimo girls with their fish smell, hideous raven hair and guinea pig faces, evoked even less desire in me than Dr. Johnson had."
    Nobakov, Lolita

    March 1, 2011

  • "coruscating trifles"

    March 1, 2011

  • "I remember once handling an automatic belonging to a fellow student, in the days . . . when I toyed with the idea of enjoying his little sister, a most diaphanous nymphet with a black hair bow, and then shooting myself."
    Nabokov, Lolita, page 29

    March 1, 2011

  • "After all, Dante fell madly in love with his Beatrice when she was nine, a sparkling girleen, painted and lovely, and bejeweled, in a crimson frock, and this was in 1274, in Florence, at a private feast in the merry month of May."
    - Nabokov, Lolita (page 21)

    March 1, 2011

  • "Here is Virgil ... who probably preferred a lad's peritonium."
    - Nabokov

    March 1, 2011

  • "At first, I planned to take a degree in psychiatry as many manqué talents do; but I was even more manqué than that; a peculiar exhaustion, I am so oppressed, doctor, set in; and I switched to English literature, where so many frustrated poets end as pipe-smoking teachers in tweeds."
    Nabokov, Lolita

    March 1, 2011

  • "One night, she managed to deceive the vicious vigilance of her family. In a nervous and slender-leaved mimosa grove at the back of their villa we found a perch on the ruins of a low stone wall."
    - Nabokov, Lolita

    March 1, 2011

  • "But still the magic volume holds
    The Raptur'd eye in realms apart
    And fulgent sorcery enfolds
    The willing mind and eager heart."
    - H. P. Lovecraft

    March 1, 2011

Comments for duckbill

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  • Thank you for the citations and comments (I especially like the quotations from Carlyle). I hope you are having fun here--welcome to Wordnik!

    April 20, 2011

  • There is an etymology section. It's at the bottom of each word (not comment) page. See for example window and scroll down to:
    American Heritage Dictionary (1)
    1. Middle English, from Old Norse vindauga : vindr, air, wind; see wē- in Indo-European roots + auga, eye; see okw- in Indo-European roots.

    April 20, 2011