The kettle's ebullient

Erin McKean's remark about the serendipitous nature of printed dictionaries struck a chord.

As JD says, he and I maintain a glossary for the benefit of the writers in our charge and regularly include interesting words we come across by chance (which explains why the first words in the glossary is 'absquatulate'). The fact that none of our charges has challenged us for including such an obscure word indicates that they pay as much attention to the glossary as they do to the magazine house style book.

Recent serendipitous discoveries added to our glosssary that deserve wider recognition include otiose (which means useless) and ebullition (which means boiling).

I've already had the pleasure of assuring one of our more challenging writers that his latest submission is otiose and look forward to JD's assurance that the kettle is in a state of ebullition, it being his turn to make the tea. Could a kettle be said to be ebullient? I wonder.

3 comments:

Gareth said...

I'm not sure otiose is that obscure. I've sure I've seen that used in print several times (although admittedly not in the Sun). The others are new to me though.

JD said...

Google seems to suggest that 'otiose' is less common than 'ebullient' and 'ebullition', but more common than 'absquatulate'. I need access to a big corpus really to do any more research!

Gareth - Apus challenges you to work 'otiose' into casual conversation in the next few days to see whether your friends and colleagues understand it...

JD said...

Hmm, one of the free London papers used the word 'ebullient' in a story yesterday - sadly I don't have the copy to hand so you'll have to take my word for it