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March 20, 2009, 12:38 pm

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Ye Olde English, the Archaic Word Challenge

By:

Forsooth!! (whatever the hell that means)

Ever since I bought a copy of Jeffrey Kacirk’s Forgotten Words tome, I have become somewhat obsessed with, well…forgotten words. As you read these bizarre, often-silly, and sometimes downright sensible words, phrases and their meanings, you may discover what I did. It seemed that almost every term I came across, instilled some sort of fantasy rpg idea in my head.

I propose a challenge for all word-lovers! Pick any one and do a submission featuring and inspired by said word. Simple enough right? I tried to pick some of the jucier ones.

This can be added to in three ways. Firstly as mentioned, as an entire submission based on one word or phrase. Secondly, more funky archaic terms can be added alphabetically as scrolls, and thirdly, just by using a word or two in future submissions.

If nothing else, these words can be used to pleasantly pepper one’s writing!

Abortive Fine vellum made from the skin of a stillborn calf or lamb.

Adventurers-Upon-Return Those travellers who lent money before they went abroad, upon condition of receiving more on their return from a hazardous journey. This was their proper title.

Alytarch He who seeth that good rule be kept at common games, contests, and exercises. (See Ssao E’hzeir, Alytarch of Yyiszo)

Argyle a secret picture-language of thieves, street people, and beggars. To the uninitiated this appears as childrens graffiti—doodles, gibberish and stick figures on walls around the city, but it is in fact intricate and conveys complicated messages.

Babies-In-The-Eyes The miniature reflection of himself which a person sees in the pupil of another’s eye on looking closely into it. (See Soul Gazing)

Biblioklept A book thief; one who purloins or steals books.

Carpet-knight A denomination given to men of peacable professions, who are raised to the dignity of knighthood. They take the appellation ‘carpet’ because they usually receive their honours from the King’s hands in the court, kneeling on a carpet.

Culliage An ancient custom which gave a lord the liberty of lying the first night with his vassal’s new wife.

Eagle-Stone A variety of iron ore, so called from the belief that it was found in the nests of eagles, where it was supposed to prevent eggs from becoming rotten.

Gaberlunzie A mendicant; a poor guest who cannot pay for his entertainment. (see Gaberlunz)

Geloscopy Divination by means of laughter. (See Elziphar of Saliadonia)

Hippospadians Monstrous persons that abuse themselves with a horse.

Idle-Worms revolting, maggot-like, tiny worms, bred in the fingers of lazy girls. (see Solace Worms)

Jemmie Duffs Weepers, who follow funerals in mourning with great passion. (see The Chalice Bearers and Mourners of the Quiet Guild)

Midnight Friend An accoustic apparatus consisting of a…tube extending from the doctor’s street door to his bed, by which a message can be transmitted to the awakened practitioner, instead of merely the sound of his bell. Hence, it has been fancifully termed the "medical man’s midnight friend".

Mountain of Pity A stock of money raised by charity of good people who, observing the poor ruined by usury…voluntarily contributed good store of treasure to be preserved and lent to them, wherby they might have money at a low rate to relieve their wants.

Myomancer A kind of hedge-wizard whose powers stemmed from mice. (See Hamako the Black)

Oblat A soldier who, grown impotent or maimed in service, hath maintenance or the benefit of a monk’s place assigned him in an abbey. (see Saint Oblat the Maimed)

Palimpsest A manuscript page, scroll, or book that has been written on, scraped off, and used again. (See The Vocran Palimpsest)

Poosk To search for vermin on the person. (see St. Girm’s Pooskers)

Primovant In ancient astronomy, that sphere which was supposed to carry the fixed stars in their daily motions, to which all the other orbs were attached.

Queer Plungers Cheats who throw themselves into the water, in order that they may be taken up by their accomplices, who carry them to one of the Houses appointed by the Humane Society for the recovery of drowned persons, where they are rewared by the society with a guinea each; and the supposed drowned person, pretending that he was driven to that extremity by great necessity, is also frequently sent away with a contribution in his pocket.

Quockerwodger A wooden, clock-work, toy figure which, when pulled by a string, jerks its limbs. Also used as a term to signify a pseudo-politician, one whose strings are pulled by somebody else. (I’m writing a piece on this one)

Rostral-Crown The Naval crown(medal) anciently awarded to the individual who first boarded an enemy’s ship. A great honor among warriors. (see The Rostral Guild)

Screever A man who draws with coloured chalks on the pavement huge, grandiose figures of storms, ships on fire, great beasts, and scenes of legend, and is paid a pittance by admirers and passers-by. Some of the career screevers are true masters of their art, but disrespected by all other artists. (see Stolvi the Screever and Shevourus the Mad)

Shivelavat’s Hen A hen which has ceased to lay; figuratively, a woman past child-bearing.

Smoking Match Smoking matches were usually made for tobacco-boxes or some other trifling prizes, and were performed two ways. The first was a trial among the candidates who shall smoke a pipe full of tobacco in the shortest time; the second was precisely the reverse. These were infamous contests among the poor, generating great excitement and much wagering on the outcomes.

Spidireen The name of an imaginary ship, sometimes mentioned by sailors. If a sailor be asked what ship he belongs to, and does not wish to tell, he will most probably reply, "The Spidireen Frigate, with nine decks and ne’er a bottom!"

Stelliscript That which is written in the stars. He who desires to learn what good they prefigure must read them from west to east; but if he be forewarned of evil, he must read from north to south.

Suthcundman The oldest inhabitant; the one who knows what happened a long time since. The chief man in a small town or village.

Taghairm A mode of divination formerly used. A person was wrapped up in the skin of a newly slain bullock, and deposited beside a water-fall, or at the bottom of a precipice, or in some other wild and unusual situation where the scenery around him suggested little but objects and visions of horror. In this condition, he revolved in his mind the question proposed, and whatever was impressed upon him by his exalted imagination passed for the inspiration of the disembodied spirits who haunted their desolate recesses.(see The Taghairm Skin)

Thieves Vinegar A kind of vinegar made by digesting rosemary tops, sage-leaves, and some other less wholesome ingredients, anciently believed to be an antidote agianst the plague. It derived its name and popularity from the story that four thieves who plundered the bodies of the dead during palgue, ascribed their impunity to this preperation.

Vorago A gulf, a whirlpool, a quagmire, or marvellous deep place that sucks or swallows up even rivers, and whereout nothing can come.

Water-Wolf In drinking out of a wild, natural stream, a man is said to swallow a water-wolf which, it is also said, grows in his stomach.

Whores-Hunting When a wife left her husband to live with another man, the villagers would assemble outside the guilty couple’s house with a horse’s head stuck on a pole, and would pull the jaw by means of a string tied through the animal’s lower lip. (See Goodman Slatterbite)

Yird-Swine a mysterious dreaded sort of animal, called the yird-swine was believed to live in graveyards, burrowing among the dead bodies and devouring them. (see Yird-Swine)

and perhaps my favorite, because its so peculiar and morbid…and because i dont quite "get it"
Zoldering An opprobrious epithet reserved for very wrathful occasions, but without more meaning than the force of the sound conveys. (see Ye Zoldering Grimoire)



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Comments ( 31 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Ria Hawk
August 23, 2006, 22:35
0xp
Nifty. I WILL do a peice for this one. I claim myomancer, and hopefully it won't be long in coming.
Murometz
August 23, 2006, 22:43
0xp
The comment section is actually a good place to lay claim to a word or two. First come first serve.
Voted Ria Hawk
August 24, 2006, 0:13
0xp
I find this a cool concept, just for the wierd inspiration. Still... how does one abuse one's self with a horse? Wouldn't the obvious be abusing the horse instead?
Murometz
August 24, 2006, 0:17
0xp
well, think about it...how does one abuse oneself with a horse..mmm? :D

I could explain but will spare you the gruesome detail.

Think of Catherine the Great
CaptainPenguin
August 24, 2006, 1:53
0xp
Actually, Catherine the Great never had sex with a horse, that was made up by her enemies in the court who didn't approve of having a woman ruler, nor did they approve of women who were as independent as Catherine.
Murometz
August 24, 2006, 8:53
0xp
True, true, but it was the only pseudo-hippospadian example I could think of, off the top of my head :D
CaptainPenguin
August 24, 2006, 1:55
0xp
I call "alytarch"
Voted MoonHunter
August 24, 2006, 8:58
0xp
Biblioklept is mine please. It is just fascinating that it is a word.
Murometz
August 24, 2006, 15:00
0xp
Calling Dean Corso and Boris Balkan!
Dozus
August 24, 2006, 9:46
0xp
Scratch that, I'm gonna do the screevers.
manfred
August 24, 2006, 11:16
0xp
Neat and makes me want to submit my own... a dangerous list you have here. :)
valadaar
August 25, 2006, 6:58
0xp
What a wonderful little ..jerk.. this one is :). Evil without being psycopathic.
Murometz
August 26, 2006, 11:37
0xp
Evil Jerk? :D I hope you're refering to the piece, not the author. :D
valadaar
October 24, 2006, 15:01
0xp
You know, I read this now and have No Clue as to what I meant before :)
Ah well, I did vote 4.5/5
:)
valadaar
October 25, 2006, 13:28
0xp
Ah - I was commenting on Hamako the Black and commented in the wrong window.
nitouken
September 14, 2006, 10:45
0xp
Oooh, oooh, I want the water-wolf!
Voted Strolen
September 23, 2006, 19:43
0xp
Queer Plungers!?

Egads, what a great idea this is!!!
Pariah
September 24, 2006, 20:57
0xp
Stupid Codex problems... 4/5
Voted Wulfhere
September 29, 2006, 17:57
0xp
This could probably use a sequel, after we have mined a few more words from this one. I didn't think that I was too impressed at first, but I find myself coming back to it repeatedly, and it has inspired some really good subs in response.
valadaar
October 25, 2006, 13:08
0xp
Has Geloscopy been taken yet? I've some ideas for this one....
Wulfhere
January 27, 2007, 15:51
0xp
There are a few more words, lonely and forlorn, waiting for someone to think of them...
Murometz
January 27, 2007, 20:18
0xp
well, val promised a Geloscopist, Moon a Biblioklept, Psalm and I have Biblioklept In Works, Nitouken a water-wolf, and manfred (Gasp!) a sub featuring the Rostral Crown. :)
Wulfhere
January 27, 2007, 20:25
0xp
Hey! I wanna do a Biblioklept too! (Starts to hold breath.)
valadaar
January 28, 2007, 13:34
0xp
K, wasn't sure it was mine - I'll start on the Geloscopy :)
valadaar
June 27, 2007, 11:04
0xp
So Geloscopy added. Appears that Myomancer was done by Ria before and so needs updated as well!
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
December 6, 2007, 0:17
0xp
Ok, great idea, will do one, soon. Cheers!
Voted Moonlake
March 17, 2009, 21:41
0xp
Quirky idea but I like it. Wanted to claim Babies-In-The-Eyes but don't know whether I have time to do it so don't anyone hold your breath for it.

Also want to report that Scras wrote a piece utilising the word Adventurers-upon-Return titled The Emblem of Novercalis. I remember I interpreted the term as adventurers who recently returned from an adventure (ignorant me *shakes head*). Might want to link it here.
Moonlake
August 27, 2012, 19:40
0xp
3 years later, Babies-In-The-Eyes done as a 100 word challenge and linked here.
Voted manfred
March 20, 2009, 14:41
0xp
Look at the sheer number of submissions this one has inspired - not to mention their quality. One of the best codices in their odd source of inspiration, and hard to asses in its impact... long live archaic words!
Lockheed
November 7, 2009, 19:38
0xp
Ooh! Fun. I'm glad I decided to visit this. I claim Carpet-Knight.
Voted valadaar
September 25, 2014, 7:44
0xp
Upping my vote on this one. Aaand, this one deserves a bump.


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