Sunday, September 14, 2014
The following correction was made in Quinion's newsletter. Unfortunately, he didn't correct his entry on his Web site: "Epicaricacy. Nancy Spector of the Wordcraft website pointed out that I was wrong to say the word epicaricacy doesn’t appear in any of Nathan Bailey’s dictionaries. It is included in An Universal Etymological English Dictionary of 1721 but in the spelling epicharikaky. Ammon Shea, whom I doubted in my piece, tells me it’s also in John Ash’s New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language of 1775 and in A Dictionary of the Synonymous Words and Technical Terms in the English Language by James Leslie of 1806, both in the same spelling as in Bailey’s. The word appears several times in various works in the original Greek spelling; a writer on the Wordcraft site found it a century before Bailey in Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy of 1621. It was familiar to Burton and other Greek scholars because Aristotle had used it."
Monday, September 8, 2014
Saturday, September 6, 2014
I am not surprised. Quinion has now come out with the opinion that "epicaricacy" is not a fine old English word, but instead an "an erudite modern coining known to hardly anybody and of limited interest." He even seems to refute that it is in Bailey's Universal Etymological English Dictionary, which of course it is as I have written here. I saw it at Powell's Bookstore in Portland (the 1770 edition), though here it is online in the 1763 edition. It's too bad he didn't do a little more digging. I also love this entry on Wordcraft about "epicaricacy." It's erudite, but thought-provoking. While "epicaricacy" isn't in the OED, it was cited as an English word in the OED. As I wrote in a message to Quinion (providing him with the link above from Bailey's), I'll never understand some people's (including the OED's) reluctance to calling "epicaricacy" a word. There are so many worthless words out there (we know this from Tsuwm's WWFTD site), so why the reaction against this great word?