We all know how to call a person or animal that eats everything - omnivorous. But did you know that there’s also a specific word that describes a person who drinks everything? It's ombibulous. The pronunciation of this word is “om-bi-bu-luhs,” and it was coined by H.L. Mencken, a famous American satirist, journalist, and cultural critic. Mencken once wrote, “I am ombibulous. I drink every known alcoholic drink and enjoy them all.”
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Here’s another phrase most people will be able to relate to. If you’re feeling a strong desire to lie down or stay in bed, you’re having a case of clinomania. This word emerged in psychiatric papers of the late 19th century, with an 1890 article defining it as “the passion of staying in bed.” So, the next time you feel like sleeping in on the weekend, you have an official (and diagnosable) excuse.
Speaking of excuses. Here’s a fun 19th-century slang term from Britain that helps you put a name to a really bad excuse. How do you use this one? Here’s an example sentence, “George’s excuse for not finishing his homework was a complete fimble-famble.”
The words manual, handbook, and guide are all useful and understandable enough, but there’s a more fun way of referring to a book that contains essential knowledge on a specific subject. Just call it an enchiridion (pronounced as en-kee-ri-dee-uhn). This term was coined in Middle English around the 1540s, and it’s just a fancy synonym of a handbook.
Toilet paper had a minute of fame in 2020. Funnily enough, this made us wonder what the previous generations, namely those who predated modern toilets and sewage systems called TP.
This outdated term was used to refer to any type of involuntary sound, be it a yawn, a hiccup, a sob, or even a belch. The interesting fact about this word is that it is one of those really old original English words. Yesk comes from the Old English verb ġeocsian or ġiscian, which meant "to hiccup," and it’s at least 1,300 years old.
We all have that one person from high school or work that seems to always be fishing for conflict and arguments. Unfortunately, this type of people seems to be as old as time itself, since they had a word for that kind of behavior in English at least since the late 16th century. When someone is looking for an opportunity to start trouble, they were said to be a breedbate.
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What do you think of this fun word? The humorous word is used to describe a coward, it’s still used today, although very rarely. The first usage of quakebuttock dates back to the 17th century, and it was featured in the plays of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher.
Any short and simple song can be called a ditty. The original 14th-century definition describes the word as any "short song or poem intended to be sung to a simple melody." Like the previous word on the list, ditty comes from Old French, namely the word ditie.
How would you describe that fuzzy, drowsy state of mind one experiences after a bad night’s sleep? People who speak the Somerset dialect of British English may say that they’re in a zwodder all day. Zwodder is yet another original English term that likely stems from the Old English verb swodrian that means “to get drowsy, fall asleep.”
As you may intuit yourself, back-berend has something to do with bearing something on the back, and that something is stolen goods. In Anglo Saxon law, handhabend and back-berend were two terms used to refer to a person who was caught stealing something. Linguists believe that this fascinating term exists in English since at least 1292, and it was taken from the Old English word bæc-berende that refers to the same crime.
So, the next time your dog runs off with your slipper, you can legitimately call him a back-berend!
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