GODWOTTERY AND ROFLING.

Via Stan Carey’s latest link love post, a couple of tidbits I can’t resist passing on:
1) Michael Quinion explains the unusual and bifurcated term godwottery, which can mean either “the employment of deliberately archaic vocabulary” (Norah Lofts in 1938 wrote “I have written this so-called historical novel in so-called modern language.‥ I am foolish enough to believe that people‥will appreciate this lack of ‘God-wottery’”) or, for gardeners, “an exaggeratedly elaborate creation that jumbles together incompatible styles and materials with kitsch decorations”; both senses derive ultimately, of course, from Thomas Brown’s famous “A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot.” (See Quinion for an explanation of the irregular verb wit, wot, wist.)
2) David Crystal, in his DC Blog (which I should check more frequently than I do), posts about a new use of the old (in internet years) term rofl, short for “rolling on the floor laughing”; it “now means sort of, to waste time in a pleasant way either alone or in a group. So someone sitting around looking at YouTube videos is rofling.[...] You can also use to rofl to mean to fudge, or to make it up as you go. [...] On top of that, a few people also seem to be using it to mean ‘beaten badly in a competition or fight.’ As in, ‘We tried fighting the orcs in our game of Dungeons and Dragons this weekend, but we got rofled.’” As Crystal says, it’s a really interesting development, and commenters discuss the word’s passage into other languages: “I’ve just discovered that also in Italian a verb was made out of it, roflare (e.g. sto roflando, mi fa roflare etc.).” Language marches onward, ever onward!

Comments

  1. Garrigus Carraig says:

    [In the Lofts quote my browser is showing me a character that consists of a pair of raised dots after the words "language." and "people". I'm assuming that's how it's rendering the ellipsis character. Never seen its like before.]

  2. which I should check more frequently than I do
    So add it to Google Reader.

  3. … quia roflant vvivys of heli

  4. Greg Lee says:

    Garrigus Carraig reports odd dots. I get a double-dot character plus a dot after “language”, and a single double-dot character after “people”, where (for reference), an ellipsis character, 3 dot characters, and a double-dot character look like this:
    ellipsis…here, 3 plain…dots, double‥dots

  5. dearieme says:

    “You can also use to rofl to mean … to make it up as you go.” People also use “riff” with that meaning, but it wasn’t what it meant, I think, when I first saw it used about 1930s jazz.

  6. dearieme says:

    “Language marches onward, ever onward!” Ah, the Whig interpretation of language.

  7. “The day will come when you won’t be able to see the join.” – The Whig interpretation of wigs.

  8. mollymooly says:

    I first encountered “God wot” in Ian Serraillier’s children’s poem ‘The Headless Gardener’ (“Ten years he’s weeded path and plot / A headless gardener, Got wot”)
    Not having been subjected to Thomas Brown’s doggerel, I did not appreciate the allusion and wondered why Serraillier had stretched so far to find a rhyme for “plot”.

  9. “Roflare, ho ho / Pwnare, ho ho hoho.”
    And let’s not forget the new Portuguese noun “a lmfão.”

  10. “a few people also seem to be using it to mean ‘beaten badly in a competition or fight.’ As in, ‘We tried fighting the orcs in our game of Dungeons and Dragons this weekend, but we got rofled.’”"
    This is probably a truncation of the term ‘roflstomped’, as in ‘the orcs stomped on our heads’. I’m not sure exactly why ‘rofl’ goes at the beginning of the term roflstomp… maybe, ‘we got our butts handed to us in a hilarious fashion’/'we got our butts handed to us so overwhelmingly that the only response is to laugh and try again’. I’ve heard ‘roflstomp’ used in gaming related contexts since approximately 2003-4. I was unaware that the ‘stomp’ had been removed and the ‘rofl’ had been left.
    Also, I have never heard the term ‘rofl’ used as a verb, per se the Youtube-watching comment, or in the fudging/making it up as you go context.

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