Vanquash

verb. TO SMASHTICATE Nay, if you be no better in the Reare then in the Van I shall make no doubt to vanquish, and vanquash you, too, before we part. Dick of Devon (c1626) The OED is boring. The definition there is “To Smash,” but that doesn’t really conjure the meaning I think of when […]

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Snowclone

A snowclone, if you’re not familiar with the term, is “a type of cliché and phrasal template originally defined as ‘a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different variants.’” (from Wikipedia). For example, X is the new Y, as in “Black […]

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Frescour

noun. Coolness; adj. Cool and crisp By Cold, and by a kinde of Frescour (as we now-a-days speak). Bacon’s Life & D. (1627) OED says noun, but there are some wonderful ways to use it as an adjective as well. The first four letters of frescour are the same as those in fresh for a […]

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Airgonation

noun. Air travel by hot-air-balloon. A sort of meditation on future airgonation, supposing that it will not only be perfected, but will depose navigation. Letters, Horace Walpole (1784) One who travels by hot-air-balloon is (also used by to Walpole) an airgonaut. Airgonauts airgonate just as astronauts astronate. Have you been astronating lately? There’s probably not […]

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Man-case

noun. Body. He had an handsome man-case, and better it had been empty with weakness, than (as it was) ill-fitted with viciousness.The church-history of Britain, Thomas Fuller (1655) Hey there Thomas Fuller, are you eying someone’s man-case? You sly devil, you. No, it’s not a suitcase that’s just for men (following the man-bag pattern). But […]

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Amomous

adj. Blameless [the Church] shold be holi and without blemish, or rather Amomous..that is irreprehensible, safeguarded from the bitings of Momus, one of the feined Gods among the Gentils. Theologica Mystica, John Pordage (1683) What do you mean, Mr. Pordage, when you say the church should be amomous? Are you saying it isnt!? Apparently this […]

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Included: Free blog!

After some thinking, tinkering, and thinkering, I’ve added a blog feature to the site. I’ll still be posting words as often as I can (sorry about the lack up updates lately), but I’ll be posting other things here. I’ll use this space to post news about the site; links, books, and things that you should […]

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Meist

noun. An egotist. His Works hereafter will be more favourably receiv’d..by the Meists and Selfists. Common Sense (1737) A meist (or me-ist) is someone who subscribes to some form of me-ism. You know the type. Maybe you are the type. I don’t know, you tell me: are you a youist? Hey, it’s another perfect name-calling […]

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Obitaneously

adv. By the way; in passing. That such a Doctrine..should be left thus faintly, thus obscurely, and, if I may so say, obitaneously, declared. Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit, Samuel T. Coleridge (1834) Last time I obitaneously suggested that infidelity can be humorous. I apologize, it should have been less obitaneous. Here’s another one of […]

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Legerdeheel

noun. ‘Light-heeled’ pranks. If your wiues play legerdeheele, though you bee a hundred miles off, yet you shall be sure instantly to find it in your forheads. All Fools, George Chapman (1605) A play on the word legerdemain, which literally means “light of hand,” used to refer to sleight of hand or trickery and deception. In […]

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