Even after all these decades of wide reading and fanatical dictionary-consulting, I still run across words heretofore unknown to me, and a correspondent just sent me a fine one: facinorous ‘extremely wicked’ [which, it turns out, I learned last year but had already forgotten!]. It’s from Latin facinus ‘bad deed,’ and you can remember both its meaning and its pronunciation by reflecting that it has “sinner” in the middle. My correspondent writes: “I learned this word in grade school, from a Pogo book. Bun Rab and Beauregard, in their fireman roles, ran over a picnic and pushed Pogo’s face into a plate of moosh. He got up and yelled at them, ‘Facinorous runagates!’ I think it was years later that I actually looked up the word.” Any word that has the imprimatur of Pogo is ipso facto an excellent word.
The same correspondent passed along a bit of doggerel by H. C. Bunner called “Shake, Mulleary and Go-ethe” that features a striking pronunciation of the great German poet’s name:
I have a bookcase which is what
Many much better men have not.
There are no books inside, for books,
I am afraid, might spoil its looks.
But I’ve three busts, all second-hand,
Upon the top. You understand
I could not put them underneath—
Shake, Mulleary and Go-ethe.
You can read the whole thing here. Thanks, Philip!