Sunday, December 05, 2010

A Handy Word for Describing Betty Draper

When I started this list of strange and wonderful words, I did so with fissilingual (“split-tongued”) and proceeded from then on in alphabetical order all the way to epeolatry (“the worship of words”). Then I skipped around, mostly because the best words didn’t necessarily come to me in alphabetical order and some letters seemed to lack worthwhile words. Like the letter “I,” for example. I had itaiitai (a bone disease) and ignovomous (“fire-spewing”) and that’s it. I even added to the list isabelline (“yellowish-white,” from the belief that Archduchess Isabella of Austria didn’t change her underwear often enough) despite that I’d blogged it before I’d begun the actual list, solely on grounds that the “I” section seemed skimpy and neglected. (Yes, I am one of those people who makes sure to rotate dishes that I use so ones at the bottom of the stack don’t get jealous.) Today, I can finally present a new “I” word. This makes me happy. Be happy for me, jerks.
iracund (IE-ruh-kund) — adjective: irascible, inclined to anger
According to A.Word.A.Day, It comes to English from the Latin iracundus, which is composed of ira, “anger,” and -cundus, “inclined toward.” A.Word.A.Day also notes that the same end-of-the-word root appears in iracund’s English antonym, jocund, meaning “jovial, exuberant, lighthearted.” I’m not sure where that suffix -cundus comes from, though Worndik says it also sometimes appears in Latin as -bundus, like in tremebundus, “trembling.” In its English form, cund, it seems particularly appropriate for iracund, and what it sounds like made me immediately think of Betty Draper, mostly because I once made the observation that many Mad Men episodes could be summarized with the sentence “Betty (January Jones) acts as if she has a yeast infection.”


See? Betty Draper, ever iracund.

Now, anyone got a good, strange “U” word?

Previous strange and wonderful words:
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