Interfation

1. N. The act of interrupting someone while they are speaking.

Example: Misogynists often use interfation as a technique to undermine women in the workplace.

This word went out around the end of the seventeenth century. You’re not going to be able to find much to confirm this word existed unless you happen to own a dictionary from the turn of the 17th century, but I assure you, it is real.

Scaevity, scaevities

1. N. Unluckiness

2. N. Left-handedness

Example: 1. People often attribute their failures to scaevity, when in fact, they are simply terrible at making decisions in a rational way. 2. Scaevity made using traditional scissors a bit difficult for him.

It sounds like an insult, doesn’t it? It wouldn’t be now, but in the age when it was used–the mid-1600′s– it absolutely was in both senses. You see, people paid an awful lot of attention to fortune and handedness both. Despite the biblical edicts against engaging in predictive behaviors, casting lots, and divination, reading omens was actually something that got a tacit pass. Kings and queens considered it a type of divine medicine, and so if a prognosticator was patronized by a member of the peerage, they were often protected from the wrath of the Church. So to, is it true that the Church also employed such people to make predictions on their behalf. Everything from tracking the stars, to reading tea leaves, analyzing blood and urine, all manner of odd thing was done to try and know he mysteries of God’s intent.

To lack fortune was a fate worse than death. It meant that like Job, God had turned away from you and the Devil was having a go. People saw bad fortune as a kind of sickness and avoided it by avoiding you. One or two misfortunes was fine, but if you found yourself always the comedic fodder of the universe, you were a pariah next.

Handedness was also imbued with religious significance. The Church often used it, during the Inquisitions and witch trials, as a means of targeting people. Left-handedness meant that one was possibly touched by a negative force, and therefore was both unfortunate, and considered more likely to accept demonic influence into their lives. Children who exhibited this trait were “trained” out of it in the first primary schools, because those were run by the Church. Meaning that of course, entire groups of young boys were likely beaten along the back of the left hand to prevent them from their natural inclination.

Homerkin

1. N. An antique measurement of beer.

Example: Every man in this place could put away a homerkin if he didn’t have to pay for it himself.

I know. I know what you’re thinking, you modern child of the age. You think this word is supposed to signify someone who believes themselves to be a long-dead historian of the Greek persuasion, who discusses philosophy, medicine, and all the amazing things of antiquity, yes? 

No come now, that was a joke. You thought it referred to someone who believed themselves to be Homer Simpson. Admit it.

Seems somewhat fitting that it actually refers to drinking.

Fallaciloquence

1. N. lies or intentionally deceitful speech. 

Example: That entire address was a practiced work of fallaciloquence, not a single word passed fact-checking.

As may be obvious, the word can be divided into “fallacious” and “eloquence”. What’s particularly useful is that second half. You see, the word “eloquence”, in older times, wasn’t merely used to denote a grace of speech. It was used to describe the effectiveness of speech. The alacrity and felicity with which someone can convince another. “Convincing” remains a synonym to this day. All of this traces back to the original Latin term, which directly translates to “speaking out”.

A person who is fallaciloquent is also very good at lying, or at least, that is what is being implied.

So now you have a new word for a sly devil, a used car salesman, a snake-oil man.

Epalpebrate

1. ADJ. Lacking in eyebrows

Example: My species is non-mammalian and so is epalpebrate.

Because humans are never satisfied with a sentence when they could have one word to say the same thing, and this is a sentiment with which I absolutely concur.

The word isn’t terribly old, dating from the 1800′s, but I heard it enough to internalize it, and so here we are. 

Yeet

This meme, as you may know, is one of my recent favorites, but I haven’t entirely said why until now. So, here I go.

image

Now as I understand it, the originating Vine video was made without any particular thought process as to the sound to shout when throwing the empty can, but I find it utterly charming that they somehow chose this particular sound.

Why?

There are several cognates in English to yeet (some of them are simply due to misspelling, as certain words, like “yet” were pronounced differently and then spelled according to phonetics, and so “yeet”), but let me touch upon one: 

ȝeten (or yeten in modern script)

This is quite an old word, dating to Old English, back through Frisian and proto-Germanic to the Indus. It is an ancient word.

V.

  1. to pour
  2. to flow
  3. to scatter
  4. to mould

It links with others (gjuta, eyet, yit, yete) that come from metallurgy and have to do with pouring or moulding molten metals.

Somehow…without knowing the history (I presume), this child emptied out a can and said the precise word that meant “to pour”.

Yeet!

Dodrantal

1. ADJ. Of precisely nine inches in length.

2. N. Slang. Denoting someone who claims or might claim to have a nine inch…eh…member, but who is clearly either fibbing in order to impress, or who has not proven his…prowess, by showing it off. Similar in usage to the modern adaptation of calling a particularly odious male a “dick”.

Example: 

1. “The bit of string was dodrantal.”
2. “What a drunk dodrantal. Someone toss him on his arse before he drops his britches.” or “Don’t listen to that braggart. He’s a dodrantal if ever there was one.”

The secondary usage was one specifically unique to the docks of the late sixteen hundreds. Particularly in the pubs in and around the Cranes, or the bear pits across the Thames in Southwark. 

I should discuss the reason it became used in the secondary way, despite the obvious reference to…eh…length, which inevitably turns human minds to thoughts of measuring their sexual organs (someone please explain this to me because I find it absurd).

So let’s look at the original term, and then why the adaptation, shall we?

Dodrantal comes from the Latin word dodrans, which was a term of measurement denoting what we in English commonly refer to as a hyphenated contraction: two-thirds, three-fifths, etcetera. It was also a coin, which was three quarters of another coinage value. Anyway, the point is that nine inches is three-quarters of a foot. And so, the word dodrantal was born.

However, false etymologies make for excellent puns, and as you know, I’m rather partial to puns. In the Scotch, Irish and Welsh Gaelic, “dod” or “daud” has a meaning varying from “sullen, sulking, angry” to “glob or large lump”. And “rant” as you know, means “to talk loudly and longly on a topic, to expound” but in those days, it actually meant something similar to the word “rave”, except that it denoted a kind of hysterical joy or overly humorous and boisterous demeanor.

So you see… A man who talks about the length of his cock is really a sullen man raving about his lump.

Now you can swear like a 17th century dock worker from Ireland.