This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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



Friday, 12 April 2013

Word To Use Today: empester.

What's the difference between empester and pester?

Well, more or less everything, really.

It's a great word, too. I must allow that empester doesn't seem to have been used since 1611, but that doesn't mean it isn't a jolly fine thing deserving of resurrection.

And what does it mean?

Well, firstly, it means to hobble a horse while it's feeding, which I must admit is likely to be of very limited use to most of us...although, come to think about it...it would be nice to be able to have a picnic, but we're not allowed.  School lunches are taken empestered in the dining hall.

Or: lunch in a pub? Ha! Chance would be a fine thing, I'm always empestered: chained to my desk, I am.

The other meaning of empestered means entangled, which I'm afraid few of us avoid for long:

Sorry, can't talk now, I'm empestered in the rush hour.

I have tried using a skipping rope, but I always get empestered.

Can't stop, the dog's pulled the colander off the work surface and he's all empestered with spaghetti.

So even though the last example of the use of the word empester in the Oxford English Dictionary is over four hundred years old, I can't imagine how on earth we've managed without it.

Word To Use Today: empester. This word comes from the French empestre, from the Latin in- which means, er, in, plus pastōrum, which is a tether for a horse, from pasci, to feed.

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