Trashy Words, Anyone?

Quisquilious: Of the Nature of Rubbish

Jim Dee
Jim Dee
Jan 23, 2020 · 2 min read

But are our gimcracks and niff-naffs truly quisquilious?

I almost passed over quisquilious, but really liked a usage citation in the related word above it, quisquilian. Quisquilious means “of the nature of rubbish or refuse,” which we can extend to anything trashy or worthless, for example. So, anything that’s quisquilian is essentially quisquilious. The citation noted was from an 1817 publication called Blackwood’s Magazine:

… those shallow and fidimplicitary coxcombs, who fill our too credulous ears with their quisquiliary deblaterations.

Translated into simple, modern English, that would be something like:

… those shallow and gullible fools who fill our ears with their worthless nonsense.

… more understandable, sure, but far less colorful!

The original is quite a mouthful, though, eh? I had to lookup a few more words in that quote, as well and, in doing so found a nice write-up of fidimplicitary on Michael Quinion’s web site World Wide Words — which I’d forgotten about, but is a spectacular resource and, in this case, includes the same quote above that caught my eye in the OED. (Most likely, many blogs / sites that do write-ups on unusual words will highlight the same sources, which the OED has painstakingly researched.)

Quisquilious comes from the Latin quisquilia / quisquiliae, meaning literal rubbish / trash, although I suppose one may just as well employ the word figuratively. Surely, to be “down in the dumps” is to be emotionally quisquilious, no? Or, at least of a quisquilious mood.

Word Score: 7/10: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It’s not a very practical word, and no one will understand it, of course (like so many others I’m covering in this series). But, any good Q word comes with built-in quirkiness, which makes it score well on the entertainment front (in my view). So, hell, let’s give it a seven.

✍🏻 Jim Dee maintains his personal blog, “Hawthorne Crow,” a web design blog, “Web Designer | Web Developer Magazine,” and a vocabulary blog, “Wonderful Words, Defined.” He also contributes to various Medium.com publications. Find him at JPDbooks.com, his Amazon Author page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Medium, or via email at Jim [at] ArrayWebDevelopment.com. His latest novel, CHROO, is available on Amazon.com. If you enjoy humorous literary tales, please grab a copy!

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Jim Dee

Written by

Jim Dee

Web guy at ArrayWebDevelopment.com; author of books & blogs. See: JPDbooks.com.

Wonderful Words, Defined

A celebration of awesome, rarely used, highly novel words in the English language.

Jim Dee

Written by

Jim Dee

Web guy at ArrayWebDevelopment.com; author of books & blogs. See: JPDbooks.com.

Wonderful Words, Defined

A celebration of awesome, rarely used, highly novel words in the English language.

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