Friday, September 18, 2009

Grammar War VII: Words from Poe

For a rather unusual reason, I've been reading a lot of Edgar Allan Poe lately and can't help but notice the plethora of words that many probably don't recognize. Maybe I'm being paranoid (as with "sagacious), but I just feel the need to share some definitions here.

Long story short, this is less a traditional "Grammar War" entry and more just a list of uncommon words that were apparently beloved by the great Poe.

beetling - to scurry like a beetle

ephemeron - something short-lived or of no lasting significance

habiliments - the dress characteristic of an occupation or occasion - usually used in plural

ineffable - incapable of being expressed in words

lustrum - a period of five years (the Roman census)

mummer - a performer in pantomime

pertinacity - adhering resolutely to an opinion, purpose, or design (perversely pertinent; stubbornly tenacious)

sagacious - keen in sense perception

tinctured - to tint or stain with a color; to instill or infuse with a property or entity

And, for a bonus word, a word I learned from Mr. Alan Burnett (and not from Poe):

cordwainer - shoemaker


  1. Hmm not common lexicon but I use the word 'ephemeral' a lot . . .I think I've dropped the odd ineffable into conversation too. Although I do sagitate and prognosticate that the honourable gentlemen is sometimes peturbed by the exuberance of his own verbosity.

  2. i am going to aspire to use each of these tomorrow just to befuddle those i come in contact it.

  3. I didn't know 'lustrum' or Burnett's 'cordwainer'. Interesting.

    But I (or the 13-year-old boy in me) laughed at 'mummer', cause all I could think was it meant when a mime gives you a...

    Never mind. This is an intellectual discussion and I have just debased myself. Dang.