Patterico's Pontifications


Word of the Day

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 5:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

There was a discussion in another post about the origins and meaning of the legal term voir dire and thinking about that subject rejuvenated my interest in looking at dictionaries and encyclopedias. (Sometimes it’s fun to just browse through them, you know?)

I won’t bore you with the details but I came across a word I’ve never heard or seen before:

crap·u·lous –adjective
1. given to or characterized by gross excess in drinking or eating.
2. suffering from or due to such excess.
[Origin: 1530–40; < LL crāpulōsus. See crapulent, -ous]

Dumbest Post Ever. I know.


20 Responses to “Word of the Day”

  1. Noooo, not the dumbest post.

    Or did you mean just on Patterico’s site?

    ( grin )

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. All of the above!

    DRJ (a431ca)

  3. I’m not sure that definition is right. Bibulous is gross excess in drinking. For sure. Crapulous, I always thought, was inordinate pleasure in food but not gross excess in the sense of eating too much.

    nk (5ce644)

  4. ‘Sokay. It’s far more interesting to this non Angeleno than anything about the LA Dogtrainer (hint to Patterico–if we don’t know by now it’s only good as toilet paper, we never will).

    I do remember the prurient astonishment my adolescent self experienced when finding the word “pissant” in a school assigned book (Vonnegut, if I remember correctly), succeeded by the equal astonishment of discovering that pissant is not actually a dirty word.

    But you obviously need a dose of tranquility after the jeers you’ll receive for this post. So here’s a link:

    kishnevi (225b9d)

  5. Thanks, Kish.

    NK, the Online Etymology Dictionary defines it as solely related to drinking:

    “Sick from too much drinking,” from L. crapula, from Gk. kraipale “drunken headache or nausea.” Since Roman times, often used of the drunken debauch itself, but properly only of its after-effects.”

    I obviously need to work on my vocabulary, or maybe my behavior is what’s lacking. I would probably know this if I had more experience with crapulous-ness.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  6. Has someone been crapulent today?

    Timothy Watson (e4f890)

  7. Can I admit here, without fear of recrimination, that I actually thought until my early 20s that “peon” was someone so low on the social ladder that that’s what other people did to him?

    Diffus (fddeb6)

  8. By the way, DRJ’s comment wasn’t there when I was writing mine. :(

    Sorry for the redundant joke nevertheless.

    [Timothy – I thought your joke was funnier and there’s no harm at all in cumulative humor. Anyway, we cross-posted and that’s just … well … crappy. — DRJ]

    Timothy Watson (e4f890)

  9. Thank you, DRJ. You’re right. Κραιπαλη. Accent on the second syllable. Debauchery. From Greek for a drunken headache. Described by Galen.

    And I thought myself a classicist.

    nk (5ce644)

  10. Rather than post in the “voir dire” discussion thread and risk getting lost in the 280 posts already there, I thought I’d put this here. I had this discussion on Powerline’s boards back in early 2007.

    My 6th edition Black’s Law Dictionary defines “voir dire” as “to speak the truth”, much like “verdict”, but “verdict” is from the Latin while “voir dire” is from the French (actually says “L. Fr.”). Supporting this definition are the following authorities:

    Merriam Webster says it’s Anglo-French.

    Wikipedia says Middle French. (Wikipedia also notes the following: “The word voir (or voire), in this context, is an old French word meaning “truth”. It is unconnected with the modern French word voir, which derives from Latin vidēre (“to see”), though the expression is now often interpreted by false etymology to mean “to see [them] say”.”

    ‘Lectric Law Library says French.

    Cornell Law Library says French.

    Though interestingly, still supports the “to see to say” definition, also French.

    I think the “L. Fr.”, “Middle French” and “Anglo-French” etymologies confirm that it’s an old word, not the modern “voir”.

    And yeah, “crapulous” is a great word. Sounds like it should mean “full of s**t”.

    Gwydion (4b2ab1)

  11. DRJ,

    You’re a geek. That’s very cool (heh). I wonder if that’s where feeling “crappy” comes from? Too many guys with hangovers and the word just came to mean that “kind” of feeling whether you were drinking or not. If it doesn’t, I’m not sure I want to know where it comes from.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  12. Stash – Next thing you know we’ll be talking about Thomas Crapper.

    NK – You’re a poet and a classicist, and that’s why you know all the words I’ve never heard. The only poetry I know comes from ESPN when they describe a running back’s moves as “poetry in motion.”

    DRJ (a431ca)

  13. DRJ – We could do that, except I’m feeling a bit crappy right now. Maybe later, kplzthx.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  14. for tomorrow’s word of the day, i nominate “callipygian”. it’s one of my faves.

    assistant devil's advocate (10791e)

  15. I know not whether you are fossicking amongst the words of the language looking for obscure and interesting examples out of sheer boredom, or if you are moiling amongst them out of a sense of duty. In either case your time would likely be more enjoyably spent looking for callipygian people.

    Fritz (05e30e)

  16. If you like unusual words you can waste a few hours at Luciferous Logolepsy. I just wish they listed etymologies for them.

    Taltos (4dc0e8)

  17. Is someone channeling Bill Buckley here?

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  18. The problem with this thread is I’ve had to look up half the words on it. I especially liked logolepsy but callipygian wasn’t bad, either.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  19. In an old Simpsons episode, Montgomery Burns re-enacting Howard Hughes says “With Smithers out of the way, I was free to wallow in my own crapulence” or something close to that.

    tehag (315002)

  20. Don’t know why it only took me three days to think of this quote:
    Bahlasti! Ompehda! I spit on your crapulous creeds.

    (Liber AL, Chapter III, verse 54).

    kishnevi (4394f3)

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