fredag 16 oktober 2015

Låtom oss fira

att det både är World Dictionary Day idag, och Noah Websters födelsedag. Noah som 1806 gav ut "A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language", men det var "American Dictionary of the English Language" som kom ut 1828, som gav honom epitetet den främsta lexiografen av amerikansk engelska. Under arbetet med sitt lexikon lär han ha lärt sig 26 språk — kanske var det därför det tog honom 28 år att sammanställa den ordboken som innehöll 70000 ord, vilket är fler än i någon annan ordbok dessförinnan. Noah var en föregångsman när det gällde att förenkla stavningen  ibland fick han gehör för sin nystavning, till exempel med orden center, color, och honor, medan hans försöka att skriva dawter, wimmen, cloke och tung, aldrig slog igenom. 
Tyvärr sålde hans lexikon dåligt, och för att kunna ge ut en andra upplaga 1840, var han tvungen att belåna sitt hus. Tre år senare dog han, utan att ha fått den uppskattning som hans livsverk förtjänade.
Han myntade flera nya ord  det här är bara några av dem:

Defined by Webster as "wise afterwards or too late" -- or in other words, the perfect term for describing that feeling of knowing exactly what you should have said (or done) after the opportunity to say it (or do it) has passed you by. Other useful after- words on Webster's list were 
after-game (a subsequent scheme or plan), after-supper(the time between supper and going to bed), and after-tossing (the rolling of the sea after a storm has passed).
"Senseless prattle" or "unmeaning words," according to Webster. To 
twattle, incidentally, is to gossip or chatter.
Cycopede is all but unique to Webster, who defined it as both a variation of cyclopedia (as in encyclopedia), and as a term for the entire "circle of human knowledge."
As a verb, to daggle is "to befoul" or "dirty", or more specifically, "to trail in mud or wet grass". The adjective 
daggle-tail ultimately describes someone "having the lower ends of garments defiled with mud."
Another of Webster's clever compound adjectives, this time describing any sound that "sets up the ears".
The perfect name for "an insignificant fellow" -- Webster described this word as "vulgar and not used."
An old-fashioned word for a ventriloquist, or as Webster explains, "one who so modified his voice that it seems to come from another person or place."
On the rare occasions when 
hugger-mugger appears in modern English, it's typically used to describe a state of noisy confusion or uproar. According to Webster, however, it was a "low cant word" synonymous with privacy or clandestineness -- doing something in hugger-mugger, he explained, meant doing it in absolute secrecy.
A formal word for "the act of ensnaring; a catching or entrapping."
jackpudding is a "merry-andrew" or "a zany" according to Webster -- in other words, a joker who acts the fool to make other people laugh.
As loaves of bread expand in the oven as they're cooked, a 
kissing-crust forms when they spread so far that they touch.
Derived from the Latin word for distance, 
longinquity is a formal word for remoteness or isolation, or for any vast distance in space or time.
To stammer or stumble on your words. To 
faffel means the same thing.
If something is 
nuncupatory then it exists in name only. The word can also be used to describe a verbal rather than written agreement.
Literally means "to walk about." The horseback equivalent, incidentally, is to
obequitate -- or "to ride about."
The strong string or twine used to wrap parcels? That's 
quadrin was old copper coin, which Webster explains was "in value [worth] about a farthing". Its name can also be used figuratively of any tiny amount of something, or an insignificant amount of cash.
"A vile, dissolute wretch" -- also known as a 
rampallion, a scroyle, a runnion, apander, a cullion and (if they seem destined to a life of crime) a crack-rope.
sheep-bite is "to practice petty thefts" according to Webster. Some of his other criminally underused S-words include scantle ("to divide into small pieces"), scranch("to grind with the teeth"), stalactical ("resembling an icicle"), squabbish ("thick, fat, heavy") and stramash ("to beat," "to destroy"). Less useful is sniggle, defined as "to fish for eels by thrusting the bait into their holes."
"Slow-paced; moving or stepping slowly."
uptrain is "to educate" -- literally "to train up."
Derived from the Latin word for the spring, to 
vernate is "to become young again."
wrangle is "to dispute angrily" or "to involve in contention," according to Webster. So if you're wranglesome, then you're "quarrelsome and contentious."
Xerophagy is "the eating of dry meats," according to Webster, who described the practice as "a sort of fast among the primitive Christians." In all, he listed just 13 words under X in his dictionary - which is 13 more than Samuel Johnson, who instead stated that "X is a letter which, though found in Saxon words, begins no word in the English language."
Also called a 
yoke-fellow, a yoke-mate is "an associate or companion."
Z fairs slightly better than X in Webster's dictionary, with a total of 85 entries in all. A
zuffolo, he explains, is "a little flute... especially that which is used to teach birds."

Noah Webster, Jr.  
16 oktober 1758 – 28 maj 1843
detalj av porträtt av James Herring

4 kommentarer:

  1. Hur gjorde man för att hålla reda på så många ord utan en dator? Inte konstigt att det tog 28 år! Och att dessutom lära sig 26 språk!!!
    Kram från Mette

    1. Mette,
      Ja, det kan man verkligen fråga sig. Jag brukar virra bort mig bland mina olika anteckningar för ett enda blogginlägg! Och jag skulle inte ens komma på tanken att lära mig 26 språk, även om jag nosat på flera.

  2. underbara ord - en del nya för mig.
    utan webster skulle det vara svårt att klara sig.

    1. Debbie,
      Gott att höra att inte heller du kunde dem alla!
      Jag fotograferade en gång en staty av Noah, tänkte fotot skulle få en hedersplats - nu vet jag inte ens var negativet är.
      your tardigradous