Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Dry and Withered, and other Words

On the day of my birthday, the Word of the Day in the Miriam-Webster email I get every day, was "sere", which means dry and withered. My first thought was...."Are they trying to tell me something?"

And over at Wordsmith, which I also get daily,  one of last week's words was "Pecksniff", which means pretending to have high moral principles; sanctimonious, hypocritical. It is taken from a character in Charles Dickens's novel Martin Chuzzlewit. Earliest documented use: 1844. Charles Dickens describes Pecksniff like this: "Some people likened him to a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there."  I'm sure you know people like that - I know I do!   

Another word at Wordsmith was "Smellfungus". I confess to never having heard that one before.  It is a habitual faultfinder or complainer. It comes from the name of a hypercritical character in Laurence Sterne's 1768 novel, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. Earliest documented use: 1807. "The learned Smelfungus travelled from Boulogne to Paris, from Paris to Rome, and so on; but he set out with the spleen and jaundice, and every object he pass'd by was discolored or distorted. He wrote an account of them, but 'twas nothing but the account of his miserable feelings." I am well-acquainted with one who views the world through smoky glasses; I just never knew what to call him before.....LOL

8 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

I can see me using "Smellfungus" in the future, sounds great! :D

Sere certainly sounds nicer than dry and withered!

Celia said...

Those are some of the best words I've read yet. Save us from the Smelfunges' of the world.

Pat said...

Sere is quite a poetic word but totally unsuited to describing
such a warm, vibrant person as you Judy.

Granny Annie said...

I don't want any of my family members to learn those words.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

All words I am unfamiliar with....Smelifungus....WOW!!! That's a good one.....lol!

oklhdan said...

I love those words! Very descriptive by themselves.

robin andrea said...

Uh-oh, smellfungus is my new favorite word. Thank you for that!

Ginnie said...

Having had the pleasure of meeting you twice I can tell everyone that you are definitely NOT sere !