Eudemonic neoteric year!

A eudemonic neoteric year to all our fellow English language energumens. And if you'd like your own guide to Wordsmanship, the book of that name (subtitled The Art of Verbal Conquest) was published in 1984 by Angus & Robertson (ISBN 0-207-14915-1). While JD and I have sworn the subbing guild oath to keep English lucid, sometimes it's nice to be able to stop an argument with a word or two that your opponent doesn't know.

Here are a few more examples you might like to drop into conversation:
hepatic disagreeable
edacious greedy
incondite crude
hebetudinous thick-headed
hebdomadal weekly
nugatory trifling
iracund irritating
oscitancy lazy
nocuous harmful
irrefragable undeniable
vilipend slander
thrasonical boastful

Wordsmanship has its roots in the concept of one-upmanship, for which we are indebted to the late, great Stephen Potter. His books, Gamesmanship (1947), Lifemanship (1950), One-Upmanship (1952) and Supermanship (1958) explain "how to win without actually cheating" by taking psychological advantage of your opponent at every possible opportunity.

Also well worth tracking down is the smashing 1959 film School For Scoundrels, an archetypal British comedy co-written by Peter Ustinov with a tremendous cast including Ian Carmichael, Terry Thomas, the incomparable Alastair Sim (as Stephen Potter), Dennis Price, Peter Jones, John le Mesurier, Hattie Jacques Hugh Paddick and Irene Handl.

Google reveals there was a US remake in 1996, which strikes me as being about as worthwhile as a British remake of Casablanca. Nuff sed.

1 comment:

Vincent said...

I was looking up School For Scoundrels to tell an American blogger, who has just invented a new word, about Stephen Potter. Consequently I found you and am glad of it.

His word is borking.