Thursday, April 18, 2013

O is for Ornature

Aggh.. I've fallen behind...

Ornature: decoration.

Yeah, decoration. That was short and sweet, wasn't it?

Male bowerbirds of Australia and New Guinea demonstrate perhaps the rarest of courtship rituals in the natural world. They build a fairly complex structure out of sticks and spend gads of time decorating it both internally and externally with locally available trinkets, often including shells, berries, feathers and any sort of colourful debris of human origin. Females choose mates purely on their housekeeping skills and males will not only steal decorations from one another but sometimes vandalize their competitors' bowers.

Source: Imperial Lexicon (c. 1850) Rev. John Boag
Google hits: 94000

Orphanotrophy: a hospital for orphans.

Pop culture's favourite orphan, Annie, began life as a poem by James Whitcomb Riley in 1885, then in 1924, as a comic strip, drawn by Harold Gray until his death in 1968. A succession of further artists carried the project for another 42 years. The strip was ranked #1 according to 1937 polls.

Annie took form as a radio show in 1930, a broadway musical in 1977 and films in 1932, 1938 and 1982. The strip's popularity slowly declined until 2010, when running in just 20 newspapers, it was cancelled.

Source: American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) Noah Webster
Google hits: 6100

Odditorium: a collection of curiosities.

Example: "FWiG's Odditorium of Forgotten English." Hey, that's me!

Pensioner Carol Vaughn of Birmingham, UK has collected more than 5000 bars of soap from all over the world. Jens Veerbeck of Essen, Germany has gathered more than 600 different models of toasters, and Icelander Sigurdur Hjartarson had collected 143 penises from 41 different mammals as of 1997. Yes. Penises.

Eleven year old Luke Underwood sold his collection of promotional item memorabilia, including hundreds of McDonalds Happy Meal items, reportedly for ten thousand dollars.

I once had a very impressive foreign beer bottle collection ringing a basement rec room on high shelves until a home-invading squirrel knocked many of them to their smashing demise while being chased by my doberman. I finally whittled the collection down to my six favourites and now I have about 2000 books instead.

Source: A Dictionary of American Slang (1934) Maurice Weseen
Google hits: 311,000

Home of anonymous Coca-Cola collector

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