origin and etymology:
Middle English, from Latin viragin-, virago, from vir man
Plural: viragoes or viragos
- a loud, overbearing woman
- a woman of great stature, strength, and courage
Mixed messages, anyone? While once considered a compliment (one famous virago being Joan of Arc), it later became more of a slur or derogatory comment (think Taming of the Shrew’s very own shrew). Now it’s trending more towards the complimentary once again. Is there a virago in your farmgirl life?
Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, Photo by ABC Television via Wikimedia Commons.
Phone snubbing. We easily see it in others’ behavior. It’s so annoying when it happens to you, but be honest, you may be guilty of this one yourself …
verb (used with object), phubbed, phubbing
1. to ignore (a person or one’s surroundings) when in a social situation by busying oneself with a phone or other mobile device
Hey, are you phubbing me?
I hate to see a mother wheeling a stroller while phubbing her baby.
verb (used without object), phubbed, phubbing.
2. to ignore a person or one’s surroundings in this way.
Origin of phub
First recorded in 2010-14; ph(one) + snub
Woman using telephone, c. 1910. From postcard via Wikimedia Commons.
(v.) middle English; to rush around cleaning frantically, when company is on their way to your home. To clean briskly.
While the oldest known variations (1700s) relate more to scouring pots and pans, or even one’s children, the later variations are attributed to that panicked feeling you get when a long-lost friend calls you from a nearby rest stop, or your mother-in-law phones from the car to let you know she’s in your driveway.
Do you scurryfunge?
Image by Geertruydt Roghman via Wikimedia Commons.
Anatidaephobia is defined as a pervasive, irrational fear that one is being watched …
by a duck.
Yep, a duck.
Maybe the most interesting thing about this one is that there are enough people that have this fear, that it actually has a name!
Photo by Francis C. Franklin via Wikimedia Commons.
Anatidaephobia is derived from the Greek word “anatidae,” meaning ducks, geese, or swans, and “phobos,” meaning fear. While it make us non-suffers giggle, anatidaephobia can be a debilitating anxiety condition, wherein, no matter what one is doing or where s/he is in the world, they feel the constant presence of a lurking and watching duck …
Stephen King, are you listening??
(n.) Finnish; that secondhand embarrassment you feel when someone is making a fool of themselves, vicarious shame, or shame by proxy. From myötä- (“co-”) + häpeä (“shame”).
For some with deep empathy, their myötähäpeä is so acute as to hide under the covers during movies or television scenes when a character is being ridiculous, or to avoid parties where certain relatives are bound to make an embarrassing entrance.
If you’ve never felt it, you probably haven’t had kids yet …
Photo by Tony Alter via Wikimedia Commons.
(n.) The practice of responding to an accusation by making a counter-accusation, real or imaginary, relevant or irrelevant. Protesting at hypocrisy; responding to criticism by accusing one’s opponent of similar or worse faults. Protesting at inconsistency; refusing to act in one instance unless similar action is taken in other similar instances.
Image, W. Esser, Bodleian Libraries via Wikimedia Commons. Translation: “Now I have to go to Elba with my cock, calmly.”
Earliest documented use: 1974. Originally used in describing political discourse during the Northern Ireland troubles, it has also found use in discussions of the origins of other prolonged sectarian conflicts, such as the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It was widely employed by then USSR as a propaganda technique and is now often a favorite of our current president. It is also known as whataboutism. “Turbo-charged online whataboutery is destroying proper debate.” – Helen Lewis, Nov 26, 2015
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” -Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992)
(n.) A detailed, prolonged, and imaginary world created by a child that includes humans, animals, or alien creatures. Can have a definite geography, language, and history.
pronunciation | \per-o-‘koz-m\
Illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith via Wikimedia Commons.
Examples of paracosm:
- Middle-earth, the highly detailed fantasy world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, as expressed in his novels The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien had been inventing languages since his teen years, only later imagining the people who spoke them or their environment.
- Gondal, Angria, and Gaaldine, the fantasy kingdoms created and written about in childhood by Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Brontë and their brother, Branwell, and maintained well into adulthood. These kingdoms are specifically referred to as paracosms in several academic works.
- As children, novelist C. S. Lewis and his brother, Warren, together created a paracosm called Boxen, which was in turn a combination of their respective private paracosms Animal-Land and India. Lewis later drew upon Animal-Land to create the fantasy land of Narnia, which he wrote about in The Chronicles of Narnia.
- Hogwarts, invented by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books.
- Terabithia, the imaginary kingdom invented by author Katherine Patterson, in her beloved novel Bridge to Terabithia.
- Never Land, from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
- Wonderland, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Well, I could go and on, but what’s your favorite paracosm? And did you have your own that followed you into adulthood?
No, not bumble. (Autocorrect didn’t get me this time.) It’s bimble …
As in, to bimble along.
(v.) walk or travel at a leisurely pace.
On Sunday, we bimbled around Spitalfields and Brick Lane.
(n.) a leisurely walk or journey.
We were enjoying a pleasant bimble over the rocks.
I like the Urban Dictionary’s description even better, don’t you?
“To amble without real aim, yet in a friendly and harmless manner. It’s not required to achieve nothing, though it is a frequent side effect. Bimbling can be made a little more business-like with a slight hunch of the shoulders.”
I rather think Bilbo Baggins enjoyed a good bimble, don’t you? (Now we’re getting into tongue-twisting territory.)
From The First Saint Omnibus: An Anthology of Saintly Adventures (1939), page 269:
But the Duchess starts bimbling and wambling and wimbling and threatens to wallop his ducal behind.
Wambling and wimbling? There are two more for us to learn …
Der Sonntagsspaziergang, by Albert von Keller via Wikimedia Commons
I confess to being one myself at times. But in my defense, learning new technologies is baffling and time-consuming. And why must everything on your laptop change once you run an update? Inquiring minds want to know.
(n.) Ludd·ite \ ˈlə-ˌdīt \
One of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying labor-saving machinery as a protest; one who is opposed to technological change.
The Luddites argued that automation destroys jobs. It became an entire movement—the Luddite movement—in 1811, in Nottingham, England. After machinery began to replace them, textile mill workers rioted. The name itself is likely rooted in a fictional character named Ned Ludd in George Pellew’s Life of Lord Sidmouth (1847). Poor Ned, in a fit of rage and insanity, rushed into a weaver’s house and destroyed all of the equipment.
Anyone who shuns new technologies is now considered something of a Luddite. But come on now, who among us has not had vivid daydreams of running over their misbehaving printer with a tractor? Just me? Hello?
Photo by diveuniversefest via Wikimedia Commons.
Saudade (soh-dah-duh) especially with reference to songs or poetry: a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament. An English translation of this word would best be replaced by ‘missingness.’
“Her songs are based on love poems and evoke a melancholy known to the Portuguese as saudade.”
(n.) “yearnings, saudades, those sonorous fruits grown for overripe hearts” or “the love that remains”
A Portuguese and Galician term that is a common fixture in the literature and music of Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde, and beyond. The concept has many definitions, including a melancholy nostalgia for something that perhaps has not even happened. It often carries an assurance that this thing you feel nostalgic for will never happen again.
“A pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.” ~ Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo.
“No matter where I wander, I’m still haunted by your name
The portrait of your beauty stays the same
Standing by the ocean wondering where you’ve gone
If you’ll return again
Where is the ring I gave to Nancy Spain?”
~ Barney Rush in his example of saudade in contemporary Irish music.
Image by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior via Wikimedia Commons.