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Friday, May 11, 2018

Nine words that deserve a revival

Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash

glimflashy, adj.

Etymology: < glim n. (a candle) + flashy adj.



flamfew, n.

Etymology: Corruption of French fanfelue < medieval Latin famfalūca bubble, lie, apparently < Greek πομϕόλυξ bubble. Compare modern French fanfreluche.

  A gewgaw, trifle, fantastic thing. Also Sc. ‘Any gaudy trapping in female dress,’ ‘a gaudily dressed female’ (Jamieson).


gumfiate, v.

Etymology: < Italian gonfiat-o, past participle of gonfiare = French gonfler, < Latin conflāre, < con- together + flāre to blow.

  trans. To puff up, cause to swell.


misdeemful, adj.

Etymology: < misdeem n. + -ful suffix.

  Having a false judgement of. Also: suspicious 


queemful, adj.


  Pleasing, agreeable. Also: kind, gracious.


ramfeezled, adj. 

Etymology: Apparently < Scots ram-, intensifying prefix (see note and compare earlier ramgunshoch adj.) + a second element of uncertain origin (perhaps feeze v.2) + -le suffix 3 + -ed suffix1

  Worn out, exhausted; confused, muddled.


rumfustian, n. (and adj.)

Etymology: < rum n.2 + fustian n.
Now hist.

  A hot, spiced drink made of strong beer, white wine, gin, egg yolks, lemon juice, and sugar, popular during the 19th cent., originally among university students.


septemfluous, adj.

Etymology: < Latin septemfluus ( < septem seven + fluĕre to flow) + -ous suffix.

  Flowing in seven streams.


wamfle, v.

Etymology: ?

  intr. To go about with flapping garments. Of garments, etc., to flap, flutter (in the wind).


  1. I wonder if any bars in Toronto serve rumfustian's?

    1. It could be a new trend. Except that it sounds revolting...

  2. And, additionally, think how useful any of these words could be in any conversation about the current Bashi of Trumpestan!


About Me

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Canada's Word Lady, Katherine Barber is an expert on the English language and a frequent guest on radio and television. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Her witty and informative talks on the stories behind our words are very popular. Contact her at wordlady.barber@gmail.com to book her for speaking engagements; she can tailor her talks to almost any subject. She is also available as an expert witness for lawsuits.