Friday, May 8, 2009

Word I Looked Up This Week

pompatus--Yes, after hearing Steve Miller’s song, “The Joker,” on the radio and wondering about the line, “I speak of the pompatus of love” for the zillionth time, I finally remembered to look it up!

According to Wiktionary, we’ve got a noun meaning a pompous person, or a verb meaning “to act with pomp and splendor.” Apparently it’s a real, though faint, entry in the Oxford English Dictionary. (Faint pompatuses? Fainting pompatuses?) Of course, I’m also having a little trouble with the conjugation: “William pompatused throughout the meeting” sounds weird to me. Maybe I’d better stick to the noun in my many upcoming uses of this word...

Which reminds me: did you know that there are a mere handful of words in the English language that are entirely made up rather than derived from older/other languages? Most of them come from brand names like Xerox. The exception--and my personal favorite--is copacetic, which is said to have been invented by Bojangles Robinson!

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