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October 12th, 2001 - 2:14 a.m.

I'm Currently Avoiding:

I don't want to deal with you right now, I'm tired.

Stuff & Words & Stuff...

invective in-VEK-tive (noun)

1 : an abusive expression or speech

2 : insulting or abusive language : vituperation

"Invective" began life in the 15th century as an adjective meaning "of, relating to, or characterized by insult or abuse." In 1523, it appeared in print as a noun meaning "an example of abusive speech." Eventually, the noun developed a second sense applying to abusive language as a whole. "Invective" comes to us from the Middle French word "invectif," which in turn derives from the Latin "invectivus," meaning "reproachful, abusive." ("Invectivus" comes from the Latin "invectus," past participle of the verb "invehere," one form of which means "to assail with words.") "Invective" is similar to "abuse," but it tends to suggest not only anger and vehemence, but also verbal and rhetorical skill. It sometimes implies public denunciation, as in "blistering political invective."

spumescent spyoo-MEH-sunt (adjective)

: frothy, foamy

Example sentence:

"Beat egg whites until foamy," the directions said, and Frank beat them until they were splendidly spumescent.

"Spume," from Latin "spuma," is a word for froth or foam that has been a part of the English lexicon for more than 600 years. An early example is found in the following quotation from 14th-century English poet John Gower: "She set a caldron on the fire . . . and let it boil in such a plight, till that she saw the spume [was]white." "Spumescent" joined the older adjectives "spumous" and "spumy," which also mean "foamy" or "frothy," in the mid-1800s, but it has remained rare. Etymologists aren't positive whether it was adopted directly from the Latin adjective "spumescens," or whether it's simply an instance, like "alkalescent," of adding the suffix "-escent" to a noun to create an adjective.

chagrin shuh-GRIN (noun)

: disquietude or distress of mind caused by humiliation,

disappointment, or failure

"Chagrin" comes from French, in which it means "sad," or, as a noun, "grief." In the past, some etymologists associated it with another French "chagrin," meaning "rough leather" or "rough skin." Though these words are spelled the same, they aren't related. The "chagrin" that means "grief" supposedly comes from "chat," meaning "cat," plus "grigner," an obsolete French word related to the grinding of teeth. It has been suggested that the origin of "chagrin" might be connected to the lamenting noises of a cat and to the distress expressed by teeth-grinding; this is just speculation, however. What we do know is that English speakers borrowed the term in the late 17th century.

snivel SNIH-vul (verb)

1 : to run at the nose : snuffle

2 : to cry or whine with snuffling

3 : to speak or act in a whining, sniffling, tearful, or weakly emotional manner

There's never been anything pretty about sniveling.

"Snivel," which originally meant simply "to have a runny nose," was probably "snyflan" in Old English. It's related to "sniffle," not surprisingly, and also to an Old English word for mucus, "snofl." It's even related to the Middle Dutch word for a cold, "snof," and the Old Norse word for "snout," which is "snoppa." There's also a connection to "nan," a Greek verb meaning "flow." Nowadays we mostly use "snivel," as we have since the 1600s, to refer to self-pitying whining, whether or not such sniveling is accompanied by unchecked nasal flow.

Is it just me or does the word spumescent seem incredibly dirty? Like it should have some other meaning altogether? Maybe it's just my love of invective or something. Pfft. Oh hell, let's throw in a gratuitious reference to people while I'm at it. Just b/c of the time. And hey! No sniveling from you, just because you didn't get mentioned or didn't get what you wanted out of this diary entry. I don't want to end up being chagrined just because of your insecurities.



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