I like to think I’m really in tune with my readers, and I know, without you even having to ask, what you really want to learn. You’re probably thinking, “Hey Ryan, if we all get together on this we could probably bring back some words that have been lost to time.”
Well, dear reader, you’re absolutely right. Here’s some dusty old gems to work into your everyday conversation.
Chittyfaced – A gaunt, slim face that might be associated with not getting enough to eat. “You’re positively chittyfaced, my dear! Here, have a meat pie.”
The word derives from a ballad about the monster named Chichevache. (in Olde English, chiche = starving, vache = cow) You see, Chichevache’s diet consisted solely of “patient housewives”, and as such he was constantly starving due to lack of available food.
Rigadoon – A lively dance, particularly referring to the feet. The Scottish variation was Rig-adown-daisy which referred to a dance that, if done in a field, would trample the daisies. “Hold me closer tiny rigadooner.”
This may have been corrupted from the name Rigaud, who might have invented the dance, combined with the Italian donzella for dance.
Further research reveals that in the 1980s there was a line of puppets, no doubt inspired by the Cabbage Patch Kids, called the Rigadoon Gang
Inveigle – To be hoodwinked or blinded, in terms of deception. “Bullwinkle was inveigled by Natasha’s sensual charms.”
The in is not a prefix here (there is no plain viegle) because this is an anglicized French word, aveugler, with the same meaning. It was written as far back as 1547.
So there you go, add a little Olde English flavour to your emails this week.
- Source: “Folk-etymology” on Google Books – circa 1882