The Discouraging Word today explores the brief history (three recorded occurrences) and hard-to-pin-down meaning of a word that must have been in fleeting vogue in the fourth decade of the nineteenth century. You might also want to scroll down (none of your newfangled permalinks for TDW!) to the April 21 entry “Wonky pillars, and why the OED no longer considers us polite” for an exegesis of the more current, if not exactly familiar (to Yanks), word “wonky.”


  1. Did you know that there is Slavonic Collection in Helsinki University Library?
    (I worked there few years ago. If you have some tough questions for them you can write to:
    And there are some special collections, too,
    Well, just a thought. Or two.

  2. Wow! From the Slavonic collection I got to The Finnish Historical Newspaper Library 1771 -1860 (for which the index page contains the delightful sentence “Information may contain erros”). Now I’m going to investigate some more. Thanks again, Rara!

  3. All the dissertations of the Univ. of Helsinki are online in PDF form. I’m definitely going to be looking at “Four Ways of Writing the City”: St. Petersburg-Leningrad as a Metaphor in the Poetry of Joseph Brodsky by Maija Könönen and Èto i to v povesti Staruha Daniila Harmsa [This and that in The Old Woman, a short story by Daniil Kharms] by Jussi Heinonen.

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