My research has shown (don’t ask) that many of the slightly less common, but still repulsive, short-syllable expletives of the current day were in use during Victorian times as well. (Oh, all right, I’ll tell you: court records from the seedier end of town faithfully record the sailor and soldier lingo as hurled at some poor bobby from the dock.) But what is fun, is finding the ones that will past muster in printed matter under the eagle eye of my editor, and, it-goes-without-saying, also not lower the tenor of the book – like poodle-faker. (Yes poodle-faker – a young man too much given to taking tea with ladies.)
The thing is (and there’s always a thing) the English language is peculiarly rich with luscious words: like kafuffle, tatterdemalion, curdle, spelunking, frippet, pollock, macerate, waddle, shenanigans, plonker, booby, and kumquat. I wonder often about other linguistic cultures: do they have equally satisfying words? Do they enjoying saying them the way we do? Or is it just us, with our eccentric enthusiasm for alliteration and ruthless penchant for scrumping words from other cultures, who can take satisfaction from the mere word itself? (Speaking of which, whoever could possibly have thought “vacuum” a good idea?) Or am I being linguistically superior and speaking nothing more than preposterous twaddle?
Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:
Car Talk’s green car buying guide.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Sherwood Smith rackets into the Paranormal argument.
Quote of the Day:
“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
~ Catherine Drinker Bowen
(Oh, all right, I'll tell you: court records from the seedier end of town faithfully record the sailor and soldier lingo as hurled at some poor bobby from the dock.)
…Where could one find this?
Gosh that's a pretty old blog, I don't know if I kept the link and if I did if it's still active but I'll check…
I can't find the case I'm referring to, which means it's a written (probably library), not internet, source. Sorry, I just don't remember.
Another good resource is "The Vulgar Tongue Dictionary" 1811 by Captain Grose (ha ha) a friend of mine sent me pdf of that.