Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wondrous Words Wednesday 37

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at the Bermuda Onion where you "can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative!"

I am totally in a -12 degree wind chill outside, everything is blah, funk. But - words are fun! So in an attempt to cheer myself up, here are a few words - mostly from books that I thought were pretty meh, which doesn't help - that I thought were interesting ...

hobbledehoy /ˈhäbəldēˌhoi/
1 noun: an awkward gawky youth - usually referencing a young man or boy.

1 adjective: awkward or clumsy.

Origin: unknown OR variant of hoberdyhoy, alliterative compound, equivalent to hoberd (variant of Roberd Robert)-hoy for boy
First Known Use: 1530 - 1540

beldam \ˈbel-dəm\
1:  an old woman 
an old woman, esp an ugly or malicious one; hag
 --- witch, crone, hag  

2: [Obsolete] grandmother. 
Orgin: Middle English beldam grandmother, from Anglo-French bel beautiful + Middle English dam
First Known Use: 1520
Wait, what??? this word went from standing for grandmother to standing for witch or hag???  What happened?  The original construction is beautiful woman - what the heck is the etymology of this word?  

"aged woman," 1570s; earlier "grandmother" (mid-15c.), from dame (q.v.) in the sense of "mother" + bel-, Middle English prefix expressing relationship (cf. belfader, belsire "grandfather"), from Old French bel, belle "beautiful, fair, fine" (see belle ). This "direct relationship" sense of bel is not found in French, where the prefix is used to form words for in-laws.

I will try to sort this out later.  Sheesh!

1: The head; the pate.
2: A stupid fellow; a loggerhead; a blockhead.[Vulgar in both senses] 
from The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language, Part 11
 edited by William Dwight Whitney
From A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew, In its several Tribes of Gypsies, Beggers, Thieves, Cheats, &c. with An Addition of some Proverbs, Phrases, Figurative Speeches, &c. Useful for all sorts of People, (especially Foreigners) to secure their Money and preserve their Lives; besides very Diverting and Entertaining, being wholly New by  which was published in London in 1699

 a "jobbernoll" means "a very silly Fellow."

" Calf," meaning a fool (as witness Cotgraves definition of " Veau, a calfe or veale ; also alozell, hoydon, dunce, jobbernoll, doddipole" from Elizabethan England..

(this one was tough because the Jobberknoll from Harry Potter has almost driven out the original word!) 

vingt-et-un \ˌvan-ˌtā-ˈən\

Origin: French, literally, twenty-one (Well duh!  I clearly didn't think that one through.)
First Known Use: 1772

bag·wig \ˈbag-ˌwig\
First Known Use : 1717

Gentleman's Queue Bag
18th Century
Gentlemen wore a queue bag to "contain the pony tail" 
of their own hair or a wig to keep their collars and clothes clean.
Silk, linen. W 12.1, L 25.4 cm
Morristown National Historic Park, MORR 3932

Sounds hideously uncomfortable!

gadroon /ɡəˈdro͞on /
1:  the ornamental notching or carving of a rounded molding
2:  a short often oval fluting or reeding used in decoration
gadroon transitive verb
ga·droon·ing noun
 : noun A decorative edging on metal or wood, typically formed by inverted flutings.
Origin late 17th century: from French godron, probably related to goder 'to pucker', also to godet.

American railroad holloware creamer jug with
gadrooning on the lower body (Wikipedia)


Happy Wednesday! Stay Warm !


  1. Those words are new to me but I love a couple of them! Hobbledehoy and jobbernoll sound like what they are.

  2. Oh my goodness, where did you find these words? I have come across hobbledehoy but never knew the meaning.

    1. I read several old Signet Regency Romance novels over Christmas and started jotting down the words that amused me - unfortunately mostly from books that I got rather bored with as I was reading them. I ended up using Google Books to look several of these up.

  3. Oh my! I'm a grandma. Right about now I'm feeling a bit "obsolete. I'm glad you're going to fix up the word and make it pretty for us. Lol.


Hi! I do read all of the comments and want to let you know that I really appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a note. Work has fallen in on me and I have not had enough time to reply coherently lately so I apologize preemptively but still want to assure you that your comments are valued. I am using comment moderation to avoid using more annoying spam avoidance. Thanks for your patience.