Sunday, May 6, 2012

R is for two charming words to call not-so-charming people...

Not much time to post today, I've been having too much fun playing with the Merriam-Webster online top ten lists.  

Some of my favourites include:

The user-submittted lists are also mostly hilarious (SLACKTIVISM - "(noun) : activism (such as signing an online petition) that requires very little commitment or action"). 

Of course none of these begin with R, but I was pleased to find two entries in the 'Top 10 Charming Words for Nasty People' list that do.  

#1: Ruffian


a brutal person; bully


"'You try me too much. A ruffian – a common brawling ruffian – that's what you have become.'" – Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World, 1912
"Tintin always moves (unless he's been knocked out by some ruffian). Motion is his appeal and the reason Steven Spielberg's representation rings true." – Matt Easton, The Michigan Daily, January 4, 2012

About the Word:

Ruffians specialize in roughness, and between the 16th and 18th centuries, they were also synonymous with pimps – men who solicit clients for prostitutes.
#4: Rapscallion


rascal; an idle worthless person


"The devil fetch ye, ye ragamuffin rapscallions; ye are all asleep. Stop snoring, ye sleepers, and pull." – Herman Melville,Moby Dick, 1851
"In his personal life [Christopher Hitchens] was no less the 'rapscallion iconoclast,' as historian Douglas Brinkley once described him. He left his pregnant first wife for another woman." – Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2011

About the Word:

There are no scallions in rapscallionRapscallion is an alteration of rascallion, which is itself an irregular formation of rascal, a term born in Old French.

Finally, one to get you through the weekend that I have long known to be true:

Top 10 Latin Words to Live By

#2: In Vino Veritas

What It Means:

"there is truth in wine"

Where It Comes From:

It has long been obvious that alcohol can cause people to say things they otherwise wouldn't.
In the first century AD, Pliny the Elder referred to the "common proverb that in wine, there is truth [in vino veritas]."
Onya, Pliny.  

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