gadzookery

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Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 15, 2017 is:

gadzookery • \gad-ZOO-kuh-ree\ • noun

: (British) the use of archaisms (as in a historical novel)

Examples:

"Several other stories and verses that they jointly contributed to magazines are historical and melodramatic in tone, larded with archaic oaths and exclamations and general gadzookery." — Julia Briggs, A Woman of Passion: The Life of E. Nesbit, 1987

"Her spare prose and dialogue give a period flavour without the dread excesses of gadzookery." — David Langford, The Complete Critical Assembly, 2002

Did you know?

"Gadzooks . . . you astonish me!" cries Mr. Lenville in Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby. We won't accuse Dickens of gadzookery ("the bane of historical fiction," as historical novelist John Vernon once called it), because we assume people actually said gadzooks back in the 1830s. That mild oath is an old-fashioned euphemism, so it is thought, for "God's hooks" (a reference, supposedly, to the nails of the Crucifixion). Today's historical novelists must toe a fine line, avoiding anachronistic expressions while at the same time rejecting modern expressions such as okay and nice (the latter, in Shakespeare's day, suggesting one who was wanton or dissolute rather than pleasant, kind, or respectable).


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