This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Thing To Be Today: scribulous.

Now here's a problem. For one thing I'm not sure if scribulous really is a word (it's not in the OED); and, if it is, then I don't actually know what it means.

Scribulous has been claimed as a ghetto term for anything fancy, good, or outlandish - but then ghetto terms tend to stay in the ghetto, where I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be welcome.

On a Merriam-Webster web-site Alex from North Carolina insists that scribulous is a mixture of scrupulous and scribble, that is, someone who's always redrafting his or her work.

But my own assumption has always been that scribulous describes someone who's always scribbling; someone with a vast, probably low-grade output (do you remember Prince William Henry's reaction to being presented with the second or third volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? 'Another damned thick book! Always scribble scribble scribble! Eh, Mr Gibbons?'*). 

In other words, someone scribulous is someone otherwise known as a hack.

So there we are. This word can mean anything we want it to mean, so make your own choice of the above.

For me, obviously, I'm with poor Mr Gibbons.

Thing To Be Today: scribulous. This word, if it exists, might in some of its meanings be something to do with the word scribe, which comes from the Latin scrība, clerk.

*What he said to the eighth volume, which concluded the work's 3,860 pages, is not recorded. But then that's probably best.

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