Does anyone actually read a dictionary any more? It is a wonderful and fascinating way to pass an hour or two. It takes so long because no matter where you start or how urgent your need, you will undoubtedly be sidetracked by the word above – or below – or to the side. I’ve decided to put out the occasional blog about words and my dictionary of choice is the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, (SOED), revised by C.T. Onions, a man who loved words and gave us The Shakespeare Glossary – an invaluable tool to aid our understanding of the Bard’s works.
I opened my copy of SOED at random and here are a few words I came up with today. Notice they all begin with galli- this is by no means a complete of list of words with that opening but I was struck by the very varied meanings and usages arising from those five letters . Here we go.
Loose breeches; leggings; gaiters; a variety of cowslip. (OED). Now how on earth did that last one creep in to share the word?
A hash of odds and ends of food; a hodgepodge; a ragout; a ridiculous medley. (OED)
valiant, sturdy; lively brisk; a man of courage; a man of fashion; a dance; a name for very siliceous sandstone with an even close grain.
Share some of the unusual words you have come across and let’s see how many we find.