Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vraisemblance

Welcome back to FWiG's April A-to-Z Odditorium of Forgotten English! Or -- welcome for the first time!

Vraisemblance: an appearance of truth; verisimilitude, a representation or picture. From French vrai (true) and semblance.

Example: "Society is a structure of human organization for which people utilize to leverage one another in satisfying their individual dark desires, while managing a vraisemblance to that of a creature made in their god's image."

Source: New English Dictionary (1928) William Craigie
Google hits: 70,000


Verdugo: a hangman or executioner, or an insult along similar vein.

Not to be confused with vertigo, which may very well be related given their common components involving an unhealthy separation from the ground.

A weight-bearing crane, which we call a derrick (as in oil derrick) is so named after infamous hangman Thomas Derrick of England's Elizabethan era, who not only executed more than 3000 convicts but who engineered, for his gallows, the frame and pulley system eponymous with today's cranes. Ironically, Derrick, in 1601, bedangled The Duke of Essex, who once, himself, had pardoned Derrick of the death penalty for the crime of rape; an event which had a prominent role in Derrick's originally being coerced into the hangman role.

Thomas Derrick was eventually succeeded by also-famous Richard Brandon, subject of macabre fascination and a loyal following, who received a £30 bonus for doing in King Charles the 1st and ever after feared for his own assassination. But he died of natural causes and was succeeded by Jack Ketch who was like the Kleenex of hangmen as the word ketch became the household word for executioner.

So there you have it, the holy trinity of England's gallowicious period.

Source: New English Dictionary (1926) William Craigie
Google hits: 15,000,000 (due almost entirely to the surname)


Vampirarchy: rulership by the overtly predatory.

I choose not to buy gas at Esso stations. They are brand outlets of Imperial Oil; subsidiary of ExxonMobil. Together they do alright with around $48 trillion in annual profits, largely through their exploration and production of fossil fuels and related enterprises such as oil refining, petroleum and convenience retail, natural gas processing, synthetic crude production and super-scale wildlife destruction. To get a context for the figure 48 trillion, simply imagine something you can't possibly imagine. And remember that's net profit. Not earnings.

ExxonMobil is the largest company in the world by both revenue and market capitalization and are referred to as "...one of the planet’s most hated corporations, able to determine American foreign policy and the fate of entire nations," in a 2012 article by The Daily Telegraph.

At executive board meetings, executives sing "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow..." and remind each other that fossil fuels come from a magical bottomless cup and that life on earth doesn't actually require a biosphere to survive. Then they recite the Daily ExxonMobil Prayer which closes as follows:

"...another small oil spill for man, another great shitstain on the face of mankind. Oh Lord we have more than enough buckaneros to buy our way into heaven. Amen and pass the bourbon."

No, instead I buy gas at Shell because they give me air-miles points which I later convert into free, though entirely crappy, food at Boston Pizza restaurants. See how awesome I am?

Source: New English Dictionary (1928) William Craigie
Google hits: 700

Stop! Swag time! (Exxon Mobil always finds innovative ways to spill oil and kill people.)

3 comments:

pagadan said...

Vraisemblance: an appearance of truth; verisimilitude, a representation or picture. From French vrai (true) and semblance.

Thanks for an interesting word--and the history lesson. I've always liked verisimilitude. It's a word you can get your teeth into.

Sandy Campbell said...

Wow!! So much valuable and interesting information!! Thank you!! Sandy

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