Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Sockdologer

Welcome back to FWiG's April A-to-Z Odditorium of Forgotten English! Sorry I got running late again. So far, we've been highlighting three words per day but I'm having difficulty with the letter S. There are just too many great words to choose from. I'll try to keep it brief!

Sockdologer: anything overwhelming or exceptional, such as an earthquake.

Not to be confused with proctologer, whose practices, one must suppose, might feel a little overwhelming at times...

Source: Slang and its Analogues (1890-1904) John Farmer, W.S. Henley
Google hits: 35,000

Squizzle: fire, as with a gun. To let squizzle.

The word gun comes from Old Norse gunnr (battle), which first became a given name in Sweden, 1891, generally as Gunnar for males and as many derivatives for females. There are currently around 34 thousand females in Sweden named Gun; about one for every million handguns in the U.S.A., which is in the process of changing its name to United States of Arms.

Okay, that was an exaggeration  There are only about 270 million guns held lawfully by American citizens and another 4.5 million operated by Yankee military and police. The number of criminally possessed firearms is incalculable but in essence there are about as many guns in the States as people. This is unprecedented in the history of the world and mind-boggling to some.

Source: Dictionary of Americanisms (1956) Mitford Mathew
Google hits: 80,000

Squantum: as described by the New York Mirror: "A party of ladies and gentlemen go to one of the famous watering-places of resort, where they fish, dig clams, talk, laugh, sing, dance, play, bathe, sail, eat and have a general good time... Care is thrown to the wind, politics discarded, war ignored, pride humbled, stations levelled, wealth scorned, virtue exalted, and this is squantum."

If you're looking for a quaint weekend getaway, I recommend the Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi resort hotel on the Arabian Gulf. A decent suite with five-star amenities will only run your family of four about $15,000 for an average weekend.

Or if flying out to the Middle East is not your bag you could always bunk in cozy Manhattan for the same weekend in one of The Plaza's 1-bedroom suites for as little as $40,300 U.S.D. (before tax and parking of course).

Source: Dictionary of Americanisms (1877) James Bartlett
Google hits: 532,000

Scurryfunge: A hasty tidying of one's abode the moment a visitor is spotted on the driveway.

This is my favourite obsolete word so far. It should never have been allowed to fall out of style. Scurryfunges are especially vital to dog owners because you never know when your knickers might have suddenly appeared on the kitchen floor.

Source: Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats (1975) John Gould
Google hits: 3900

Slubberdegullion: a slovenly person. From slobber and gullion (wretch).

Marshall Bruce Mathers III, known as Eminem, or Slim Shady, is an American rapper and all-around vile miscreant. He is the only so-called musician in history whose voice, image or the mere mention of his name will reliably induce uncontrollable vomiting from mine very own gullet. Impressively, he has sold more than 100 million records to some millions of so-called people, every one of whom had best never enter my home lest they be struck viciously on the head by yours truly and rolled back onto the street. Nuff said. Excuse me while I go vomit uncontrollably.

Source: Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811) Francis Grose
Google hits: 448,000


M. J. Joachim said...

lol - This post made me laugh:)

Jessica Peterson said...

I love this! I wish we still used all these words today. Maybe we'll have to reinstate them somehow, make them the cool new slang. :)

Have fun with a-z.

Anonymous said...

Fun post. And I love Squizzle and Scurryfunge. I'm surprised the latter is out of use since it's still a popular pasttime. (I do it a lot anyway.) I wonder if that's where scurry originates?