I had the hardest time choosing a word for today. It will be the last of the S words so I wanted it to be especially interesting. I thought it might be fun to do the very last word in the S section of the dictionary, until I saw that this was the word:
Syzygy - n. [Gr. to join] The conjunction or opposition of a planet with the sun, or of any two of the heavenly bodies. On the phenomena and circumstances of the syzgyies, depends a great part of the lunar theory.
Yeah. I am not an astronomer. I can't even find all the basic constellations. I have no idea what a syzygy would look like to describe it, much less explain the history of lunar theory and then write a story around a stellar phenomena. So I abandoned my last-word-of-the-section plan, started flipping pages, and came across...
Swasher - One who makes a blustering show of valor or force of arms
I was all eagerness because I knew I could write a story around that. I could even explain that a swasher is different than a swash-buckler (who is actually "a sword-player; a bully or braggadocio"). But, it's not exactly an obscure word, so I kept looking. And let me tell you, original words get harder to find the farther you get into any given section in the dictionary. I finally found one I liked. It's related to a rather common word, but it's the original form and thus counts as obscure. At least, that's how I'm counting it because I like the look and sound of it.
Suveran - a. [from L. supernus, superus, super. The barbarous Norman word souvereign, seems to be formed of L. super and regnum; a strange blunder]
1. Supreme in power; possessing dominion.
2. Supreme; chief; superior to all others.
3. Supremely efficacious; Superior to all others.
4. Supreme; pertaining to the first magistrate of a nation
That sentence in the brackets makes me smile. "The barbarous Norman word...a strange blunder." Can't you just see Webster at his desk, shaking his head at the ineptitude of someone who had the audacity to put super and regnum together? I mean, really, what kind of folly is that?? Very strange indeed ;)
Google was decidedly unhelpful tonight, as was Wordnik and the several other pages I normally turn to for word-related research. None of them turned up anything, except that there is someone named "TheSuveran" on Twitter. So, other than the fact that suveran is father to sovereign, there's really nothing more to tell about it. I shall proceed directly to the excerpt then and, just for the fun of it, I'm going to try to incorporate swasher into the story as well.
"Oh, honestly," I pulled him away from the stall. "Must you be particular about absolutely everything?"
"Why, yes. How else do you suppose I succeed in my endeavors?"
"Careful, Rodger, you're about to trip over your pride."
He laughed, took the basket from me, and tucked my arm in his. "Indeed, I am. It is good of you to warn me."
"I'm surprised you did not see the threat yourself, since you are so very suveran in knowledge and endeavor."
He pulled up and turned to me with a reply when a commotion broke out in the market square ahead. Rodger dashed off. I followed on his heals. Melons were spilt all over the ground and a long-haired boy was in the center, his back against the tipped wagon, a sword in his hands. He was shouting and waving it wildly, pointing at no one and yet at everyone.
"Here," Rodger handed me the basket. "Now there's no telling what this swasher will do, so stay behind me."
He looked straight at me. "Rose, stay here. And no do not try to rescue me, I beg you."
I folded my arms over the basket and watched him excuse his way into the open square.