Sunday, August 28, 2011
MORE INTERESTING WORDS
If you are a regular part of a group, like for instance a club or an office staff or a wolf pack, you are a numerary. But if you are brought into the group just for a little while, then you are a supernumerary. So a temp worker would be a supernumerary, and a person who has a non-singing role as part of a crowd scene in an opera would be one, too. Also if there is a ship, and some people are the crew that run the ship, but other people are maybe scientists who are on the ship to study whales or something, then the scientists would be supernumeraries.
Another thing that can be supernumerary is a rainbow, when it has some extra arcs of violet and green down below the regular arcs.
This word looks like it ought to mean "noisy," but it doesn't, so just forget I even mentioned the word "noisy." What noisome really means is something that is yucky and smelly and disgusting. A noisome object is offensive to the senses, especially the sense of smell. It might even be harmful and unhealthy. Of course, noisome is in the nose of the sniffer, so what a human thinks of as noisome might be the exact thing a dog would love to roll in. A good example of this would be a rotten fish.
The word noisome dates all the way back to 1350 or 1400. It came from the Middle English word noy, which means "harm." This word is short for anoy, which comes from the Old French word anoier, "to annoy."
Nobody knows exactly where the word flivver came from, but in the beginning, it meant something that was a flop or a failure. Then in 1908, when the Model T Ford started to get popular, people called it a Tin Lizzie or a Flivver. Maybe this was because the early cars didn't always work right, and people thought the idea of everyone driving automobiles would be a failure. But then cars got better and better, and they had a price that many people could afford, which made them lots more popular. Now most families have a car, and that's a good thing for dogs who like to go for car rides.
But the word flivver stuck around, although you don't hear it very often these days. It is now slang for an old car that is small and cheap. Also, a flivver can be anything that is badly made or inferior.
I just think this is a funny-sounding word. It makes me think of somebody in a graveyard at night, digging up bones. But of course, the real meaning of skullduggery is that it's a deception or trick or something underhanded. The best guess about the history of this word is that it came from the Scottish dialect word sculdudrie, which means "slipperiness and trickery."
You can also use the word floccus to describe a cloud that looks like it has wooly tufts in it.
Personally, I think it's the perfect word to use when you're talking about those funny tufts of hair on Chinese Crested dogs!