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Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2018 00:03:59 -0400
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From: "Wordsmith" <wsm...@wordsmith.org>
To: r...@gnu.org
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--tittup

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Once upon a time, it was considered dirty to talk about pants[1]. So they
were called *inexpressibles*. You can't make this stuff up. Some other
synonyms are *ineffables* and *unmentionables* (also used for undergarments).[2]

All this to avoid having to say the words pants, breeches, or trousers.

Today, people have no shame. You can get them to talk about jeans or capris
or dungarees without any hesitation whatsoever. It's as if we have no morals
left. Don't get me started on all the tucking taking place in public. And
to think they were ineffables!

Seriously, we have come a long way. Pants is no longer a four-letter word.
Same with this week's words: they may sound dirty, but aren't.

[1] That too for something named after a saint! St. Pantaleone/Pantalone was
a popular saint in Venice. As a result, it was also a common name among
the Venetians. As a result, a comic character in the Italian commedia dell'arte
was named Pantalone. The leggings this character wore became known as pantalone
(plural pantaloni). And that became pantaloons in English.

[2] If you have more than three pairs of pants and want to call each by a
different name, try these: indescribables, indispensables, innominables,
never-mention-ems, unimaginables, unprintables, unutterables, unwhisperables,
and etceteras. You can thank Vicky (who gave us Victorian morality) for them.

tittup (TIT-uhp)

   noun: A lively movement; caper.
   verb intr.: To move in an exaggerated prancing manner.

[Apparently imitative of the sound of a horse's hooves. Earliest documented
use: 1691.]

See usage examples in Vocabulary.com's dictionary: 

  "[Josh Homme's] wiggling movements while playing guitar and singing
   were just a small prance away from the full tittup."
   Ludovic Hunter-Tilney; Queens of the Stone Age; Financial Times
   (London, UK); Nov 21, 2017.

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Pronunciation: https://wordsmith.org/words/tittup.mp3

Permalink: https://wordsmith.org/words/tittup.html


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Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (https://gnu.org, https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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