Somehow I ended up with an intriguing multi-volume dictionary, each slim volume detailing words associated with one of the seven deadly sins. This 2011 series is called The Deadly Dictionaries. This week’s post features words that appear in the volume titled Pride – a Dictionary for the Vain. May you enjoy the words, but avoid manifesting the meanings.
Foofaraw is an excessive amount of decoration one heaps on oneself. The noun foofaraw was born in America in the 1930s. Etymologists haven’t nailed down its source, but some suggest it may have come from the Spanish word fanfaron, which means braggart.
A person who is contumelious is scornfully arrogant or insolently abusive. The adjective contumelious came to English in the late 1400s through Old French from Latin.
Vain boasting can be called rotomontade, a noun that arrived in English about 1600. The word is based on the character Rodomonte in Arioso’s parody, Orlando Furioso.
Kvel (or kvell) came to English through Yiddish from a Middle High German word meaning to gush or swell. Those who kvel these days boast in an overly proud manner.
One who is fastuous is haughty, arrogant, or ostentatious. Fastuous appeared in English in the 1600s from Latin.
In the 1580s the noun saucebox was born, meaning one who is addicted to making saucy remarks.
And we’ll finish up with some idioms meaning to boast:
-to swing the lamp
-to be puffed up
-to shoot a line
-to draw the long bow
-to toot one’s own horn
-to think no small beer of oneself
-to fly the bunk
-to have cornstarchy airs
I’m hoping you have something to say about all this foofaraw. If so, please leave a note in the comments section.
Big thanks to this week’s sources: Etymonline, Wordnik, Merriam-Webster, Pride – A Dictionary for the Vain (Adams 2011), & the OED.
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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