Welcome

cropped-fr.title_.sleeping-cat.pngWelcome to Word Buds. This site is dedicated to word aficionados the world over. If you’re always ready to learn a new word and see it used, or delve into the origins and relationships of old familiars, I think you’ll enjoy this site.
I’m also quite fond of poetry and plan to include a verse now and then. You’ll find earlier posts of poetry, anecdotes and nature notes in my Archives, too.

Scenester

“Looking for a new guitarist, Palmer spotted a local scenester named Neil Young strolling down Yorkville Avenue (in Toronto) clutching a 12-string guitar.”
Jordan Runtagh, writing about early bands that launched musical careers

SCENESTER

Not a hard word to figure out. Lexico calls it an informal North American word meaning: a person associated with or immersed in a particular fashionable cultural scene.

Of which there are many, depending on interests and income level. I’ve just read the memoir of someone who, as a teen, joined the hippies and the Haight-Ashbury crowd. “Deadheads” were scenesters of a particular variety, fans and followers of the rock group, “The Grateful Dead,” started in the ’60s and officially dissolved in 1995. A few times, travelling in Ontario, we’d see large numbers of these “flower children” in their old VW vans heading to the next Grateful Dead concert.

The word scene comes to us via the Latin word scena, from the Greek skēnē meaning “a tent or stage.”

Escutcheon

“It was not the threatened pecuniary loss which was troubling her…It was the blot on the escutcheon of the Excelsior.”
From the short story, Death at the Excelsior, by PG Wodehouse

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StillWorksImagery — Pixabay

I don’t recall ever having seen this word before, though it applies to some very common things:
— a shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms
— the protective plate around a keyhole, door handle, etc
— on a boat, the metal plate on which is emblazoned the name of the ship

But there’s also the expression, “a blot on the escutcheon.” Lexico defines this as “a stain on one’s reputation or character.” This is just what the landlady in Wodehouse’s mystery was fearing after one of her lodgers died of a snake bite. Not a detail she’d want getting spread around.

This word comes to us via the French word escuchon, which is based on Latin scutum, meaning “shield.”

Shield-CVFreeVectors

CFV images — Pixabay

Gadarene

Here’s a new one for me! Found it two days ago, searching my thesaurus for synonyms of “hasty.”

GADARENE

M-W:
Acting or done with excessive or careless speed
Lexico:
Involving or engaged in a headlong or potentially disastrous rush to do something.

Synonyms:
cursory, drive-by, flying, hasty, headlong, helter-skelter, hurried, pell-mell, precipitate, precipitous, rash, rushed

When someone reproved the young man for driving too fast, he boasted that everything he did, he did fast. If only he’d realize, I thought, this gadarene approach to living may well lead to a gadarene death.

This word came into English in the mid 1500s and harks back to a Bible account. “Gadarene” refers to a resident of the town of of Gadara, in ancient Palestine near the Sea of Galilee. When Jesus visited that area, he met a man who was possessed by a number of demons. When Jesus ordered them to leave the man, they begged, and Jesus allowed them, to go into a herd of swine that were feeding nearby. According to the account, the swine then stampeded over a steep cliff and were drowned in the sea below. Thus the concept of a wild rush.

Rotund

The elephant’s gray and rotund;
the giraffe’s all spots and skinny;
the zebra’s like a stripy horse;
so, like a horse, must whinny.

The panda’s a forest lumberer
who gnaws on bamboo shoots;
the hippo on the river bank
prefers serene pursuits.

The sloth hangs from a tree all day
while monkeys like to swing;
the lion adores his robust roar
and thinks himself the king.

ROTUND

marked by roundness, notably plump; chubby
marked by fullness of sound or cadence

Came into English from the Latin word rotundus, from rotare, ‘to rotate.’

I could also have said the lion has a rotund roar — or an orotund roar.

OROTUND

marked by fullness, strength, and clarity of sound
pompous; bombastic

This is a modification of the Latin phrase, ore rotundo, which means “with a round mouth”

Deprecatory

The last Word Buds post was about the word ASPERSE and the thought of casting aspersions on people, accusing or slandering them is indirect ways.

Today’s word is DEPRECATORY
This is the adjective of the verb DEPRECATE;
the adverb form is DEPRECATORILY. What a mouthful!

DEPRECATE:
— to express disapproval about something
— to play down as an ability
— to belittle or disparage something or someone.

DEPRECATORY has the two separate and almost opposite meanings, too:

Merriam-Webster says:
1 : seeking to avert disapproval : apologetic
2 : serving to deprecate : disapproving

Lexico turns these around, indicating that the more common meaning is “expressing disapproval.”

Synonyms are:
contemptuous, degrading, demeaning, derogatory, disdainful, scornful

He was disappointed when his boss made a deprecatory remark about the data he’d tried so hard to collect.
Or, c
onversely:
When his boss highly praised his thorough report on the subject, he smiled deprecatorily and admitted that he’d easily found most of the info online.

When Shasta arrived at the high school dance in a gorgeous dress she’d designed herself, the girls were initially envious. But when the class drama queen caught on that Shasta had sewed the dress herself, she began making deprecatory remarks to the others about Shasta’s “home-made dress” and her family probably being “too poor to afford anything better.” Several other snooties joined in with her, glancing at Sasha’s dress disdainfully and finding fault.

As with so many other words, this one comes to us through Latin, though the meaning has definitely morphed over the centuries. The root is deprecatus, past participle of deprecari, from de- + precari, “to pray.” This combo meant “to avert by prayer.”