This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: orgulous.

Orgulous wouldn't be quite such a bad word if it meant gargling. It sounds as if it should mean gargling

Unfortunately it means...well, it means rather a lot of things: proud, haughty, disdainful, ostentatious, showy, swollen, augmented, excessive, threatening and dangerous.
 
Thomas Malory used the word in 1485 in Le Morte D'Arthur:
At that time there was a knight...the which was an orgulous knight, and counted himself one of the best of the court; and he had great despite at Balin for the achieving of the sword.
and it was picked up by Sir Walter Scott, Robert Southey and Virginia Woolf who used it to create historical atmosphere.

It's surely much better left in the cupboard as a curiosity, though, with the castor oil, the moustache curlers, and the bust of Ozymandias.

Word Not To Use Today: orgulous. This word comes from the Old French orguillus, from orgoil, which means pride. There's a related Old High German word urguol, which means excellent.


  • 1966, Eric Walter White, Stravinsky the Composer and his Works, University of California Press (1966), page 5:
    Her nephew describes her as 'an orgulous and despotic woman', and it is clear that he noticed and resented her numerous unkindnesses.
  • 1975, Georgette Heyer, My Lord John, Arrow Books (2011), ISBN 0099476428, pages 14-15:
    They knew that my lord of Arundel had grown so orgulous that he had lately dared to marry the Earl of March's sister, without license.

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