A Word for Wednesday

We've come to it at last - the last Wednesday of the year.

And I didn't know how to end this series until a few minutes ago.

I thought about talking about the 39 definitions of the word draw. Yes, you read that right, there's 39. But that seemed rather silly. I had a word - doughty - bookmarked from last week's search. It means "brave, valiant, eminent, noble, illustrious." It's rooted in Nordic culture, the Saxons and Danes and Swedes, which makes me favor it. But ending the year talking about a doughty hero didn't seem right either.

I found the right way, though. It's not an obscure word. It's actually a word that needs no defining because we use it all the time. But it starts with a D, and it's the perfect word to end one year and begin the next. I didn't write a story clip either, because I didn't want to take anything away from the impact of this word. Are you ready for it?



A Word for Wednesday

Guess what, you guys? The word I ended up picking for today is in famous books; the recognizable, household-name kind of famous books :) This makes me quite happy, for two reasons. First, it feels like it's been a while since the chosen word was one that well-known authors used in their works. Second, digging into remote literary corners in the hopes of finding even a trace of related material has been getting old ;) So, yay for an easy word!

Dudgeon - n. Anger, resentment, malice, ill will, discord

Now, if you're like me, you thought the word was "dungeon" at first glance. I was reading through the D section, came to dudgeon and skimmed right past it. Then I realized that I hadn't read anything about castles or stone or dark damp places. I backtracked, actually read the definition (amazing what happens when you read instead of skim, isn't it?), and knew my search for today's word was over. It's a good thing too, because my dictionary was starting to look like a sticky-note hedgehog. And dictionaries just aren't supposed to look like that.

Anyway, dudgeon, as defined above, describes a specific emotion. It can extend, though, to describe a mood. I found several other dictionaries that defined it this way: a sullen, angry, or indignant humor. And, let me tell you, the usage passages make way more sense with the more moody sense of the word. Take a look:

"Now that same night I think it was, or at any rate the next one, that I noticed Betty Moxworthy going on most strangely. She made the queerest signs to me, when nobody was looking, and laid her fingers on her lips, and pointed over her shoulder. But I took little heed of her, being in a kind of dudgeon, and oppressed with evil luck; believing too that all she wanted was to have some little grumble about some petty grievance. But presently she poked me with the heel of a firebundle, and passing close to my ear whispered, so that no one else could hear her, "Larna Doo-un". By these words I was so startled, that I turned around and stared at her. " Lorna Doone, by Richard Blackmore (see? famous work #1)

"And, slamming the door in Meg's face, Aunt March drove off in high dudgeon. She seemed to take all the girl's courage with her; for, when left alone, Meg stood a moment undecided whether to laugh or cry. Before she could make up her mind, she was taken possession of by Mr. Brooke, who said, all in one breathe 'I couldn't help hearing, Meg. Thank you for defending me, and Aunt March for proving that you do care for me a little bit'." Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (and famous work #2)

So, to oversimplify, dudgeon means being in a really, really bad mood. Easy enough, right? And now to use it myself.

"He's in a rare form, miss," Jerome's butler said as he led the way to the tower stairs. "I'm a warning you, you'd best stay down here."

"You're very kind," I smiled at the dear, grandfatherly man. "But, rare form or not, I'm afraid I have to see him immediately."

He shook his head, muttering under his whiskers, but took my things without argument when I handed them to him. I picked up my skirts and started up the curving flight of steps. The click of my shoes on the stone and the rustle of my skirts dragging behind me were the only sounds to my ears for far too long. What had possessed someone to build so high a tower? One half it's size would have sufficed.

I found Jerome muddling through a mess of parchments. Locked chests formed a haphazard line against the wall. He was drumming his fingers on the table, apparently both blind and deaf to all else.


He started to his feet and his hand went to his hip, to the hilt of his favorite sword. He dropped back into his chair when he saw me, and shielded his eyes with his hand. "Please don't startle me like that."

"I'm sorry, I've never made it up those stairs without you hearing me before." And I had never seen him armed in his study. "Am I correct is assuming that he has contacted you?"

"Yes." He was picking up piles of the paper only to set them down again.

"What are you looking for?"

"My dagger."

"Your dagger? Why would it be up here? You keep it in your chambers, don't you, with the others?"

"No." He stood, scouring the room with his eyes. "I mean, yes, I do. I, I brought it up here two days ago and I haven't seen it since. There's no reason for anyone to steal it. It has no value to anyone but him and myself. Help me find it."

He took his arm as he went to move past me. "Jerome, what's happened?"

"Nothing further."

"I know you too well to believe that."

He huffed a sigh. "Then I ask you to. Believe a lie, this once."

"You intend to give him the dagger, don't you?"

He broke from my hold, gently, but broke all the same. It was the books he started moving this time.

"That's maddness. The dudgeon he bears you will not be so easily appeased."

He slammed a book down. "I have to try, Elaine. I have to try."


A Word for Wednesday

It's almost unbelievable how entertaining reading a dictionary can be.

No, really. I mean that. There's all the familiar vocabulary, of course. Then there's all the scientific vocabulary that no one can actually pronounce and use in normal conversation. (You know that rare species of bird from the Indian peninsula? Yea, that one). And, in the middle of all that, you get words like this:

Dingle-dangle - hanging loosely, or something dangling

Can you believe that's actually in the dictionary? It makes me laugh. Now, I may just be easily amused, but I really like stumbling across those kinds of random words in my vocabular ventures. It's fun.

That aside, here is today's word.

Dicacity n. [L. dicacitas] Pertness

Webster's definition is a little too straightforward for me this time. So I looked it up in The Imperial Dictionary of the English Language (volume 2, to be exact). It had the same exact definition, but it included the etymology of the word - which helped flesh this word out for me: [L. dicacitas, railery, from dicax, dicacis, talkative, witty, from dico, to say]. From what I can gather, and in spite of "0 results" from the online thesaurus, dicacity seems to be synonymous with speaking in a saucy manner or with satirical wit. In a word, being pert. And so we arrive as Webster's one-word definition ;)

Henry Lee used it in his writings on The Campaign of 1781 in the Carolinas, saying "...the proposition was rejected by Cruger, upon the ground, that this affecting ceremonial of right devolved on the victor, with his usual dicacity."

In a vastly different context, this word is used by a character in The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. He says, "Oh my lord, I seek only to introduce thee to these fellows of infinite mirth, the sons of men of worth, amongst whom there is neither procacity, nor dicacity, nor loquacity; for never, since I grew to years of discretion, could I endure to consort with one who asketh questions concerning what concerneth him not, nor have I ever frequented any save those who are, like myself, men of few words."

So there you have it - a word as easily used by a military general as by a ficticious Arabian. And now it's my turn.

"I was astonished by the captain's cabin. If not for the swaying, and the rope that bound my hands, I would have thought myself in England again instead of aboard a brigand ship. A perfect set of china cups was set out on the desk and books lined the shelves. The man I presumed to be the captain was pouring tea. The pot looked pure and delicate in his large, grime-sodden hands.

"So you finally chose to grace me with your presence, m'lady," he said, without looking up.

He then sat down, propped his feet up on the table, and considered me. "Will you have tea with an old man?"

"With an old man, yes," I said. "With a pirate the likes of you? No, thank you."

"Being difficult, are we?"

"Yes, indeed, we are."

He grinned.

"Will it be the noose, then, cap'n?" the first mate asked, his fingers digging into my arms.

"No." He picked up the tea pot and balanced it on the tips of his seven fingers. There was a chip on the spout. "She lives. There's a dicacity about her I like."

"There's a what about her?" the first mate said.

"Spirit," the captain said. "Throw her back in the brig."

The first mate spun me roughly around and towards the cabin door.

"Watch her, mate," I heard the captain say as we left, "or she'll lash you with that pert little tongue of hers."


Molto Bella

That's Italian for "very beautiful". It can also be translated "very nice." I thought both were appropriate descriptions for the award I was given by the ever lovely and generous Cherie.

I've given and been given so many awards that Mom has dubbed us "the mutual admiration society." I think that's a very accurate description of what the online writing community is. It a place for writers to support and encourage, to inspire and be inspired by each other. It is so nice to sign into my blog and be effectively surrounded by other writers, even if I don't have the time to actively converse with you all. And I feel very blessed to have found and been found by the particular bloggers I have.

You are all molto bella.  


A Word for Wednesday

I was all eagerness to start this month of Wednesday Words. I was certain that the D section would hold all sorts of unique and interesting words. I think my dictionary is laughing at me right now, because the Ds are determined to be difficult. It is astounding how many D-words are words we all know with only a de- or dis- added to the beginning. Stuck between all those prefixed words, I found this one, which will ring December in for us:

Deleble - a. [L. delebilis] That can be blotted out

The verb form is dele, meaning blot out or erase. Every search engine I tried got confused by this word. I wasn't able to find any sort of origin or history about it. I started getting somewhere with "dele" but then some script started malfunctioning and I wasn't able to access my search. So...I was only able to find and access one little tidbit - a sentence by one Fuller. Normally when last names are given by themselves as attribution, it's because the person is well-known, but I have no idea who Fuller is. Regardless, his sentence is useful and goes like this: "An impression easily deleble."

This is a sad little Wednesday post, I know, but not for lack of effort! Merely lack of information ;) I'll attempt to make up the difference by imagination. Here we go.

"It has to be here, it has to."

"You won't find it like this, love."

She chucked a slipper at me. "How do you suggest I find it then?"

"Methodically. Rifling through his things will never do."

She flopped onto the ground and dropped her head into her hands. "I need that letter. I know he has it, somewhere. It exists in real form, and that means it's deleble."

I sat down and lifted her chin. "Answer me this: what does that letter say that you must destroy it?"

Her eyes were haggard when she looked at me. "I cannot tell you."