The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Monday, 19th March 2018

Unobsolete: an occasional column devoted to tracking social and lexical change with reference to words, phrases and definitions in the OED that are labelled ‘Obs.’ but are now unobsolescing:

Cuck, n.

Pronunciation: /kʌk/
Etymology: Shortened < cuckold n.

Obs. = cuckold n.

The OED’s one illustrative quotation comes from Ned Ward’s Hudibras Redivivus (1706). But the word now reappears on, dated to the early twenty-first century:

US informal A weak or servile man (often used as a contemptuous term for a man with moderate or progressive political views).


Saturday, 17th March 2018

Minority, n.

Pronunciation: /mʌɪˈnɒrᵻti/
Etymology: < Middle French minorité

1. A small group of people differing from the rest of the community in ethnic origin, religion, language, etc.
2. Now more generally: Contronymous to sense 1, any identifiable subgroup perceived as suffering from discrimination or from relative lack of status or power; the majority.

Saturday, 3rd February 2018

Woke, adj.

Pronunciation: /wəʊk/
Etymology: < woke, past participle of wake v.

1. Originally: well-informed
2. Now chiefly: Contronymous to sense 1, over-attentive to racial or social discrimination and injustice.

Friday, 12th January 2018

E-pistle, n.

Pronunciation: / iːˈpɪs(ə)l/
Etymology: < epistle n., punningly after email n.

An electronic communication made to an absent person in writing; an email. Chiefly applied to emails which rank as literary productions, or to those of a public character, or addressed to a body of persons. In application to ordinary emails used only rhetorically or with playful or sarcastic implication.

Saturday, 29th July 2017

London weighting, n.

Pronunciation: /ˈlʌndən ˈweɪtɪŋ/
Etymology: < London n. + weighting n.

1. An amount added to a salary to compensate for the higher cost of living in the London area.
2. What remainers wish their votes had.

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