Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Hartrampf's Vocabularies

I've mentioned Hartrampf's Vocabularies before. What I enjoy most about this thesaurus, first published in 1929, is the number of synonyms which are so archaic, off-the-wall or unlikely-sounding (albeit richly descriptive) that at first you suspect the redoubtable Gustavus A. Hartrampf of having made them up. This is blasphemy of course; but what would you think if you went in search of 'insulting', as I did today, and  found that Hartrampf offered 'malapert'?

A few more: for 'flatter' he gives 'beslaver' or 'beslobber'; for 'matchless', 'recherche' (with an acute, which I don't know how to do in Blogger); for 'curse', 'beshrew'; for 'death', 'quietus'; 'murder', 'vulpicide' (as in one who kills a fox..); 'siege', 'besetment'.

By the way, 'malapert' is assumed to derive from the French, as in 'mal' (bad) and 'apert' (open/outspoken); which are in turn derived from the Latin 'male' and 'apertus'.
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