I recently encountered four words that I was unfamiliar with. There were two from the November 9 issue of the New Yorker (yes, I’m very behind in my reading):
- Celling: The gerund form of “to cell”, as in to use one’s mobile phone. In the New Yorker, the sentence reads “In some circles, driving while celling is now called ‘pulling a Shriver’, after Maria Shriver, the wife of Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar , of California, who has been caught a few times violating her state’s no-cell-phone law.” I’ve never seen this usage before, and it feels fiddly and wrong. Plus, isn’t the English-speaking world increasingly using the term ‘mobile phone’ instead of ‘cell phone’?
- Idiolect: From a terrific article about Tim Monich, dialect coach to A-list actors. An idiolect is “the way a person talks. A collection of idiolects forms a dialect, which iis an agreement, common to a place, about grammar and vocabulary and certain expressions.”
And here are two more new words (well, one is vaguely familiar) from the very same sentence from a Stephen Fry blog post. The sentence reads:
I enter a kind of writing purdah, an eremitical seclusion in which there is just me, a keyboard and abundant cups of coffee, all in a room whose curtains have been drawn against the light.
- Purdah: In this case, Fry is using it to as “a curtain or screen, used mainly in India to keep women separate from men or strangers.” That said, it also refers to the practice of sex segregation and concealing of the female form in Islam and Hinduism as practiced in parts of India.
- Erimitical: To be reclusive, as in an ‘erimite’. It has a similar root to ‘hermit’–originally through the Greek word eremos, meaning ‘solitary’.
Speaking of words, I recognize that the grammatically correct way to write this post’s first sentence is “I recently encountered four words with which I was unfamiliar.” But that’s grammar fascism of the worst kind, and I won’t stand for it.