Word of the Week


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Word(s) of the Week

I’m taking a course in Reference services in grad school. Our first assignment focused on dictionaries. Here’s a part of what I had to find:

1. What is a ‘trustafarian’?  Evaluate the authority of the source you used to locate this definition.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘trustafarian’ as: A wealthy young (white) person with a bohemian lifestyle, typically one who adopts aspects of the appearance and culture of other ethnic groups (esp. Rastafarians) and lives in or frequents a fashionable, multicultural area. Freq. mildly derogatory. Also as adj.

I first tried the slang dictionary on UICU’s library’s website, but found no results. Since I expect OED to have almost every word and impeccable accuracy, I went there. I like that it defined this word, gave sample sentences and states that it’s somewhat derogatory, which helps a patron understand its use more completely.

“Trustafarian, n. (and adj.)”. OED Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013. Web. (accessed on February 3, 2014)

2. What is samizdat literature?  Where did the term come from?  When was it first used in the English language? Where was it first used?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, samizdat literature is: The clandestine or illegal copying and distribution of literature (orig. and chiefly in the U.S.S.R.); an ‘underground press’; a text or texts produced by this. Also transf. and attrib. or as adj. Phr. in samizdat, in this form of publication.

Samizdat comes from Russian and was first used in 1967 in The London Times as shown below:

1967   Times 6 Nov. (Russia Suppl.) p. xxii/4   A vast and newly educated [Soviet] population..do not pass around the precious samizdat (unpublished) manuscripts.

Since the question asked for etymological information, I immediately went to the OED, which I learned to use as an undergraduate. It’s a favorite dictionary of mine and well known for its etymology.

“Samizdat, n.”. OED Online.</cite Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013. (accessed February 1, 2014).

3. What does IMHO stand for?  Does it have multiple meanings?
According to several dictionaries IMHO stands for “in my humble opinion.” Gale Virtual Reference offers more terms:

Idiots Manage High Office
I Make Humungous Overstatements
Inane Marketing Hold-Over
In My Honest Opinion
In My Humble Opinion [Internet language] [Computer science]

Internet Media House
Inventory of Mental Health Organizations [Department of Health and Human Services] (GFGA)

I searched Credo and found Webster’s New World & Trade Computer Dictionary had a definition. Since “Webster’s” is a name that is no longer copyright protected I wasn’t sure of the source’s credibility, but I was curious about a dictionary of computer terms. Since the patron wondered about multiple meanings I wanted to insure I found all possibilities. Gale Virtual Reference, which I found through Credo and therefore trust, offered a number of meanings, which should satisfy the patron.

“IMHO.” Acronyms, Initialisms & Abbreviations Dictionary.  Ed. Kristin B. Mallegg. 44th ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. (accessed February 3, 2014.)

“IMHO.” In Webster’s New World & Trade; Computer Dictionary. Hoboken: Wiley, 2003. Web. (accessed February 3, 2014.)

4. What can you tell me about onychotillomania?

According to American Heritage Medical Dictionary, which I accessed through yourdictionary.com, it’s a noun referring to “a tendency to pick at the fingernails or toenails.” Stedman’s Medical Dictionary confirmed this definition and added that it’s derived from Greek.

Since the term sounds psychological, I consulted a medical dictionary. First I tried Yourdictionary.com because I have never used it and I want to investigate as many sources as possible during this course. While I got a short definition, I wasn’t sure of Yourdictionary.com so I accessed the ebook version of Stedman’s Medical dictionary through UICU’s library. I trust that they offer an accurate medical dictionary.

“Onychotillomania. (n.d.). American Heritage Medical Dictionary. Web. n.d.[accessed February 3rd, 2014].

“Onychotillomania.” Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, 28th Ed. Stedman, Thomas Lathrop. Philadelphia : Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2003. Web. [accessed February 3rd, 2014].

Word of the Week

\ fuh-NEYG \ , verb

1. To shirk; evade work or responsibility.
2. To renege at cards.

Some of my students have been fainaiguing for months.


I finally fainaigue a tin plate out of the mess department, for which I am required to give two lire.
Harry Partch, Thomas McGeary,  Bitter Music: Collected Journals, Essays, Introductions, and Librettos

I’ve a two-year stretch up here, unless I quit or fainaigue a transfer.
— ” Astounding Science fiction, Volume 31, issue 21943 “

Word of the Week

Talk about a mouthful – ostrobogulous, but it has tickled my fancy. How to work it into conversation? I’ll try to find a way.

ostrobogulous, adj.

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌɒstrəʊˈbɒɡjᵿləs/, U.S. /ˌɑstroʊˈbɑɡjələs/
Etymology: Apparently irregularly < oestrous adj. + -o- connective + either bog n.1 or bog n.4 + -ulous suffix, attributed to Victor Benjamin Neuburg, British writer (1883–1940); compare:

1973 Times Lit. Suppl. 27 July 871/2 It was sick, dirty, or more precisely, ‘ostrobogulous’, which according to Victor Neuburg..meant etymologically full of (Latin, ulus) rich (Greek, ostro) dirt (schoolboy, bog). Chiefly humorous.

Used after Neuburg to designate something that is slightly risqué or indecent. Also applied arbitrarily to things which are bizarre, interesting, or unusual in some other way (see quots.).

1951 A. Calder-Marshall Magic my Youth i. 31 ‘Ostrobogulous’ was Vickybird’s favourite word. It stood for anything from the bawdy to the slightly off-colour. Any double entendre that might otherwise have escaped his audience was prefaced by, ‘if you will pardon the ostrobogulosity’.

1952 A.Graves Ostrobogulous Pigs 7 Once upon a time there were..five ostrobogulous skipperty flipperty filthy grubby muddy little pigs.

1963 Sunday Times 29 Dec. 19/2 (heading) An ostrobogulous year for the toy men.

1965 J. O. Fuller Magical Dilemma V. Neuburg i. iv. 58 Some of the entries were not printed because they were ostrobogulous. This was a wonderful word of Vicky’s. It was used in the place of indecent or pornographic, and had the advantage..that it implied no moral attitude.

1972 Times Lit. Suppl. 30 June 757/4 His career, fabulous, prestigious, sordid, sinister, and in the word of Victor Neuburg ostrobogulous.

ostroboguˈlation n. nonce-wd.
1952 A. Graves Ostrobogulous Pigs 11 ‘I can no longer endure the odorous and objectionable ostrobogulations of those creatures,’ said Angelina Boghurst-Fisher.

ostroˈbogulatory adj. nonce-wd.
1952 A. Graves Ostrobogulous Pigs 10, I can no longer endure this ostrobogulatory behaviour.

Word of the Week: Nitid

Nitid, adj. bright, shiny
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈnɪtɪd/,  U.S. /ˈnɪdɪd/
Etymology: <  classical Latin nitidus bright, shining, glossy <  nitēre to shine (see nitent adj.) + -idus -id suffix1. Compare Italian nitido (a1321), Spanish nítido (1444), Middle French, French nitide (1545), Portuguese nítido (16th cent.).
Care of OED