In a sly piece of PR, a dictionary has announced that it plans to cut a number of obscure yet often delightful words from its next edition – unless these words can make it into regular public use. This offer is made in partnership with a newspaper owned by a conglomerate that also owns the dictionary in question.
I’m not going to name the dictionary, the paper or the parent company, because I don’t approve of PR stunts, even when I actually quite like them (you can find out here).
The words include agrestic (rural; rustic; unpolished; uncouth), apodeictic (unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration), embrangle (to confuse or entangle), fubsy (short and stout; squat), griseous (streaked or mixed with grey) and niddering (cowardly). Lovely.
(Whoever decided ‘agrestic’ was up for the chop had clearly never seen an episode of the rather enjoyable TV series Weeds, set in the fictional LA suburb of that name. It’s a bit like Desperate Housewives, only good.)
I stumbled across another corker of a word yesterday: flocculant (a substance added to a suspension to enhance aggregation of the suspended particles). It’s something that makes the particles flock together (the associated verb is flocculate). As a scientific term, it’s of little everyday use, but you could easily adapt it to cover anything that makes people or things come together.
David Cameron would like to be a flocculant for Britain’s Broken Society; Fabio Capello needs to flocculate England’s underperforming football superstars; and so on.