Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jejunely

Jejunely: Hungrily. From jejune, wanting, empty, vacant, hungry, dry, barren; from Latin jejunus (fasting). Jejuneness: poverty, barrenness, particularly wanting of interesting matter.

Example: "While occasionally useful, FWiG's blog was prone to long bouts of jejuneness."

Source: Imperial Lexicon (c. 1850) Rev. John Boag
Google hits: 22600

Jirging: The squeak that too-clean shoes make when walking. insists that squeaky-shoe is a problem which must be dealt with and recommends one or more of the following resolutions: baby powder, saddlesoap, stuffing with paper towel, adhesive, repair shops or returning the product as defective. They do not deal with the question: Why do we find it so insufferably embarrassing to have our shoe squeak and is it possibly the human being who is defective...

Source: Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia (1824) John MacTaggart
Google hits: 940

A note regarding the "google hits" statistics I've been collecting for FWiG's April A-to-Z Odditorium of Forgotten English: It's meant to hint at just how rare the word has become. However, if one really penetrates into the search variables you find that the vast majority of instances are just dictionaries and glossaries which champion old words. They're not actually using the word to communicate. And then if you filter through the remainder, usually all you can find are proper name usages, non-English usages, digitized documents from the nineteenth century and bloggers intentionally celebrating forgotten English! So of the 940 usages of jirging, for example, only 89 remain after filtering out dictionaries and of the remainder I could find no examples of plain modern usage; only the phenomena listed above.

Juglandine: A substance contained in the juice expressed from the green shell of the walnut, used as a remedy in cutaneous and scrofulous diseases and for dying the hair black.

Additionally it was used in "walnut ketchup" along with pepper, salt, vinegar, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and mace. Mace the spice, I presume, and not the spray.

Source: Dictionary of the English Language (1897) Daniel Lyon
Google hits: 30800

Slap or mace?

1 comment:

thelmaz said...

Stopping by from the Challenge. I love weird words.