This wonderful word is the title of a new post at an Eudæmonist, and having looked it up I now know that it means (OED) ‘Characterized by creeping in or having crept in, esp. into a text.’

1673 Castell Let. in Nichols Lit. Anecd. 18th C. IV. 695 The first [text] he illustrates, Esa. ix. 1 where all condemn πιε [pie] as irreptitious. 1680 H. Dodwell Two Lett. (1691) 7 Where it [this design] is irreptitious and by way of surprize. 1868 Contemp. Rev. IX. 283 Omit ουδαμως [oudamos] which contradicts Micah, and is irreptitious from preceding αιδου [aidou].

The noun, by the way, is irreption, which my print OED marks with a dagger as obsolete (at that point having been last attested in 1649) but which is a living word in the online edition thanks to several 20th-century uses:

1926 G. W. S. Friedrichsen Gothic Version of Gospels 190 Previous to this there had been casual but continued irreptions from the Old Latin. [p.]249 The Gothic reading could.. be explained as a corruption due to the irreption of some parallel or reminiscent passage. 1974 Encounter Feb. 54/1 A protection against casual and deplorable irreptions creeping into the language.

And that last quote leads us right back to the Language


  1. Do you actually say “an eudæmonist”? I pronounce it like I do euphemism, with a y sound in front. But then my I’ve known people to say “an history”, so I’m prepared to believe anything.

  2. Descriptivists and prescriptivists alike will tell you that it is a eudæmonist — for, in the words of the immortal Fowler, “A is now usual also before vowels preceded in fact though not in appearance by the sound of y or w” (emphasis mine, v. Google).
    Thomas de Quincey — who, born too soon, did not read Fowler — wrote in his Confessions… (1821), “I confess it, as a besetting infirmity of mine, that I am too much of an Eudæmonist…” (ch. 3, paragraph 2, sentence 3 or 4). Although Coleridge had beaten de Quincey in the race to coin this particular neologism (his first citation, 1818, appearing with the definite article), de Quincey was the first to use the indefinite. I think, though, that he had things other than the indefinite article on his mind while he was writing; he might, for instance, have been thinking of the Greek word ευδαιμονια (eudaimonia), where ευ (eu) would not be pronounced “you”, but “ew” or “ev.” Assuming this to be the case, “eudæmonist” would not in fact (as it does not in appearance) begin with the sound of y or w to de Quincey. Most later writers — including those quoting de Quincey — have, however, used “a”; when forced to pronounce, I usually say “a eudæmonist” as well.
    My reasons for keeping this particular article are, of course, my own, and though I am more than happy to share them, it would be crass to impose further upon your attention here.

  3. I would certainly use a were I to use the word in a sentence of my own; were I, for example, to say “Coleridge, like de Quincy, was too much of a eudaemonist.” (We are all aware, I trust, that Coleridge pronounced his name trisyllabically.) But just as I respect the æ ligature used in the title of the site, I respect the eccentric article, taken (as the Eudæmonist reminds those who have not seen the quote on the Archive page) from the Confessions of an English Opium Eater (and I agree that de Q likely pronounced the word a la grecque: e-oo-DYEmonist); furthermore, when I pronounce it I do so with the –n, evolutionary dead end though it be. I like all things counter, original, spare, strange.
    eud: I hope you are aware that your thoughts are highly valued in these quarters, and you will never be considered as imposing on anyone’s attention. You may say, or withhold, whatever you like about your articular preferences without worrying about such Quatsch.

  4. On “an”: on the internet I often write “and” in its place before vowels, and I often see others doing it.

  5. On another note (heh), there’s a pleasantly strange little motet by Gyorgy Orban called “Daemon irrepit callidus” which was the first use of the word I’d ever seen. It’s a long text but here it is abridged, just to give you a sense of the use of the term (and the wonderful image of the devil “sneaking expertly”):
    Daemon irrepit callidus
    Allicit cor honoribus;
    Daemon ponit fraudes inter laudes, saltus, cantus
    Quidquid amabile daemon dat
    Cor Jesu minus aestimat.
    Cordis aestum non explebunt, non arcebunt, Daemon!
    “The demon sneaks expertly,
    Tempting the honorable heart;
    He offers trickery amid praise, dance, and song.
    However amiably the demon acts,
    it is still counted less than the heart of Jesus.
    Poor, passionate, undisciplined demon!”
    You can’t win, eh? Musically the piece is kind of fun in a horror-movie-soundtrack kind of way, if done fast enough, and if you nail the tricky timing. Oh, and now it’s stuck in my head. Darnit.

  6. I had seen the quote, but forgotten about it – thanks for reminding me. Off to graze in them green archives.

  7. Carlos Basto says

    Thanbks a lot for your translation on the piece DAEMON IRREPIT CALLIDUS by Orban. We have another beautiful piece by Orban called Ave verum , which is just so gorgeous as well.
    Thanks for making my life easier.

  8. Whoa, You’ve heard of Daemon and Ave Verum? Our school is doing both of those songs. Daemon has got to be my favorite choir song ever.

  9. Raymond where do you go to school, because that is just insane. My choir is also doing both Daemon Irrepit Callidus and Ave Verum.

  10. Thanks may i ask, wat kind of language is it. French?

  11. Latin, if you’re talking about “Daemon irrepit callidus.”

  12. in pennsylvania the district II choral group will be performing daemon irrepit callidus…it is going to be awesome….we are a select choir from all of our neighboring schools

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