3 New Words in one day

29 04 2010

29 April 2010

Today I caught 3 new words. I say “caught” in the spirit of a butterfly net. And I say “new” because they’re new to me. They may have been around for a while, but I’ve only just noticed them.

1.  locadile – this is a log that looks like a crocodile  (or a croc that looks like a log) . Heard it on The Sunrise program on Channel 7 this morning. Speaker was up in a helicopter looking down on some extraordinarily beautiful wild natural landscape  (Northern Territory, I’d guess). Clearly, this is a blended compound made up of bits of other words: log/crocodile.

Now, she may have said logadile, not locadile: I stand ready to be corrected.  Google yields 2,120 hits for locadile, mostly in contexts to do with faux-croc handbags. Logodile yielded 11,700 hits, but most seem related to computer software for coffee roasting machines. Go figure.

2. layathon – this is another compound, made up of the word lay (in the sexual sense) and the suffix -athon, which is a very portable bit of the language, that started out in the Greek Marathon,  developed the meaning of a long haul, and has spawned any number of offspring: walkathon, swimathon, telathon, even boreathon, for an interminable occasion. I heard layathon in  one of those little snippets of Entertainment News, which ought more aptly be called” Hollywood Gossip”. The latest layathon – now meaning a marathon of sexual indiscretions – was applied to revelations about Sandra Bullock’s ex, just as it had been applied to Tiger Woods, not so long ago. In the light of our culture of  obsessive celebrity hype, I suspect layathon will come in useful. The word, I mean.

3.  gyno-devilry – I read this in an article by that incisively witty social critic, Elizabeth Farrelly in today’s Sydney Morning Herald (p.15), under the headline: Wicked Women Make the Earth Move. Gyno-devilry refers to the belief that women can make bad things happen. A recent allegation of such came from a senior Iranian cleric, according to whom  females who dress provocatively cause earthquakes. I’m reminded of those wicked witches of Salem, of  Joan of Arc, and of course, going back to the original archetype of female destructiveness, that  vexatious Eve, all of whom found a way of irritating the patriarchs of their day’s status quo.  They should have just stayed in the kitchen, out of the way.

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2 responses

30 04 2010
Gary Birch

Great to see that you now have your own blog. I’ve missed this sort of article since you lost your “Words” column in Spectrum. What replaced “Words” is certainly no substitute. I can feel my withdrawal symptoms getting better already.

30 04 2010
ruthwajnryb

Thanks Gary! Sometimes one thing has to pass before another, better, can emerge. Anyway, that’s how I’m framing it.




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