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Etymologies

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Examples

  • Little pen, little fountain pen, little vagulous, blandulous pen, companion and friend, whither have you led me, and why cannot you learn the plodding of your trade?

    Hills and the Sea

  • And up came that wandering will-o’-the-wisp, that vagulous phosphorescence, old Mrs. Hilbery, stretching her hands to the blaze of his laughter (about the Duke and the Lady), which, as she heard it across the room, seemed to reassure her on a point which sometimes bothered her if she woke early in the morning and did not like to call her maid for a cup of tea; how it is certain we must die.

    Mrs. Dalloway

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  • In 1979 I edited the book "Psychological Complexity and Preference: A Hedgehog Theory of Behavior," by Edward L. Walker (Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole, 1980). The word vagulous appears there to modify "wanderings," and in context it means wanderings that are not quite aimless but vague in intent and direction. The author insisted on the word even though it could not be found in any unabridged dictionary at my disposal, and in the end I let him use it--because I knew what he meant! (If I can find the exact citation, I will post it--but it may take some vagulous wanderings to locate it.) --I am very sorry to learn, however, that I can no longer take credit for helping to introduce the word.

    June 6, 2011