Made up abbreviated words

I’ve often wondered about words like these, but Susie Dent explains:

You can be gruntled (satisfied), kempt (combed), couth (polite), ruthful (full of compassion), whelmed (capsized), and gorm-like (have an intelligent look about you). And, for a while in the 1600s, you could be shevelled too.

A commenter adds the words “chalant” and “consolate”, which were apparently first used in a New Yorker piece.

Also in that piece: “wieldy”, “descript”, “gainly”, “cognito”, “make bones about it”, “beknownst”, “it would be skin off my nose”, “both hide and hair”, “toward and heard-of behaviour”, “maculate”, “peccable”, “new hat”, “terminable”, “promptu”, “petuous”, “nomer”, “choate, “defatigable”, “committal”, and quite a few that I surely missed.

Immaculate and impeccable are odd ones. Does im at the front mean not? It’s not clear. Pressive? Pact? Mitate? Agination? Immiserate sounds the same as miserate. This can get very intricate. Although, you may think it to be not very tricate. Also, I hope you are being ritated rather than the more common negative of that.

“Indefatigable” could be shortened twice. Defatigable. Fatigable. Which means something very similar to indefatigable.

Timidate. Timate. Genious. Sipid. Cest. Ert and Ept, I’ve heard before. Nuendo. Finitesimal. Juriours,

For “over”, you could just put “der”.

I hope this posting has interested you. My apologies if, instead, you have been terested.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

One thought on “Made up abbreviated words”

  1. Michael J:

    Once, long ago, I used the word “inflammable” on my own blog. A commenter then rather mockingly decided to correct me, and explained that the correct word was flammable.

    I was really irritated by this, but I resisted the urges to (a) tell him something very rude or (b) ban him, but instead explained carefully that “inflammable” comes from the Latin “inflammare”, and means, essentially, capable of being inflamed. “Flammable” is a backformation from “inflammable” that stems from the fact that the prefix “in” often means “not” and “inflammable” therefore looks to mean the opposite of what it does.

    To me this backformation looks very inelegant, so I always use inflammable, but flammable is now more common – a situation that leads to a slightly odd situation where “inflammable” and “flammable” are two English words that are synonyms when you might expect they are antonyms.

    (Curiously, in- meaning into, and in- meaning not are both from Latin, which makes me wonder if the Romans had this problem too. It also makes me wish I had been taught Latin at school).

    Posted by Michael Jennings on 02 February 2018

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