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Aug 20, 2018
This week’s theme
Words that sound dirty

This week’s words
tittup
assize
crunt
cockade
fallacious

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Once upon a time, it was considered dirty to talk about pants.1 So they were called inexpressibles. You can’t make this stuff up. Some other synonyms are ineffables and unmentionables (also used for undergarments).2

All this to avoid having to say the words pants, breeches, or trousers.

Today, people have no shame. You can get them to talk about jeans or capris or dungarees without any hesitation whatsoever. It’s as if we have no morals left. Don’t get me started on all the tucking taking place in public. And to think they were ineffables!

Seriously, we have come a long way. Pants is no longer a four-letter word. Same with this week’s words: they may sound dirty, but aren’t.

1 That too for something named after a saint! St. Pantaleone/Pantalone was a popular saint in Venice. As a result, it was also a common name among the Venetians. As a result, a comic character in the Italian commedia dell’arte was named Pantalone. The leggings this character wore became known as pantalone (plural pantaloni). And that became pantaloons in English.

2 If you have more than three pairs of pants and want to call each by a different name, try these: indescribables, indispensables, innominables, never-mention-ems, unimaginables, unprintables, unutterables, unwhisperables, and etceteras. You can thank Vicky (who gave us Victorian morality) for them.

tittup

PRONUNCIATION:
(TIT-uhp)

MEANING:
noun: A lively movement; caper.
verb intr.: To move in an exaggerated prancing manner.

ETYMOLOGY:
Apparently imitative of the sound of a horse’s hooves. Earliest documented use: 1691.

USAGE:
“[Josh Homme’s] wiggling movements while playing guitar and singing were just a small prance away from the full tittup.”
Ludovic Hunter-Tilney; Queens of the Stone Age; Financial Times (London, UK); Nov 21, 2017.

See more usage examples of tittup in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. -Edgar Guest, poet (20 Aug 1881-1959)

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