Underused Words

Ruth Rendell, writer

Ruth Rendell, writer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Words in colored font were adopted from the Oxford English Dictionary’s Save the Words.

1. whinge – to complain or whine

2. widdershins – in a direction contrary to the natural one, esp. contrary to the apparent course of the sun or counterclockwise: considered as unlucky or causing disaster
(Portobello – Ruth Rendell)

3. blatherskite – 1. a person given to voluble, empty talk 2. nonsense, blather

4. gnathonize – v – to flatter

5. leeftail – adj – in great demand

6. mulomedic – adj – relating to the medical care of mules

7. aquabib – n – water drinker

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16 thoughts on “Underused Words

  1. Pingback: Light Bread and Hanky-Panky | to write is to write is to write

  2. You make me frightened, Kathy. I knew about one or at most two of the words you quoted. And at 74 my poor memory doesn’t store things like that so easily.
    C’est la vie



  3. I added ‘mulomedic’ to my Facebook status after seeing this post, Kathy-this holiday weekend marks yet another ‘Mule Days’ celebration here in Bishop, California. Quite the event around here…
    Take care!


  4. Whinge is in common use here…. and in Australia is is commonly applied to Poms, as in
    “whinging pom,” – an English person who complains.


  5. Speaking as a Pom (see above) I’m very familiar with ‘whinge’, as are we all!

    Any student of English folklore or Gothic literature will know about ‘widdershins’ – I believe witches were supposed to ride widdershins as this was following your left hand, considering how unlucky this appendage was (witness pejorative phrases like ‘cack-handed’).

    I’d not heard of ‘blatherskite’, but here in the UK we use ‘blather’ as a noun and especially as a verb, as in ‘What are you blathering on about?’ when someone is prattling.

    The remaining four are all new to me, though I would have hazarded a correct guess at ‘aquabib’ from my passing acquaintance with Latin at school. I shall endeavour to slip those other words into everyday conversation now, so thanks for this post!


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