Tuesday, January 11, 2011

LICKSPITTLE! Or: The Joy of Reading Stuff That's Very Random in Nature

So. I'm sitting with Lovely Girl this morning - she with her Rice Krispies and her hot chocolate, reading a book; me with my coffee, reading the Twitter feed on my phone.

She's reading Things Not Seen, by Andrew Clements - a story about a kid who comes out of the shower one morning to find he has become invisible. 

I'm reading...well...tweets. About nothing in particular.

Yet while my morning reading material is Very Random in Nature, it does contain something quite interesting: A Very Awesome Word. It is so awesome, in fact, that I know merely reading it to myself will not do this Very Awesome Word justice. So, I shout it out loud: 

"LICKSPITTLE!"

Lovely Girl doesn't even flinch. (She's quite accustomed to my random outbursts.) She just calmly looks up from her book. "Lickspittle?"

I explain that it is part of a "List of the Day" tweet by online dictionary wordnik, which I follow on Twitter (as any self-respecting Word Nerd should). 

Then I shout it out loud again: 

"LICKSPITTLE!" 

and giggle to myself as I add it to my "Words I Like" list, which I keep with me at all times (as any self-respecting Word Nerd would).

Then I look up at Lovely Girl. "Let's look it up!" She may not share my enthusiasm, but she doesn't protest at being included, either, so when I find a few definitions via Google, I read them out loud - though I do refrain from shouting:
  • from Merriam-Webster.com: a fawning subordinate
  • from Wikipedia (which redirects from "lickspittle" to "sycophancy"): obsequious flattery; servility
  • from my computer's dictionary: a person who behaves obsequiously to those in power
  • from Wictionary: a fawning toady; a base sycophant; (by extension) the practice of giving empty flattery for personal gain

"So," Lovely Girl breaks in, reaching for her mug: 

"A suck-up." 

And just like that, she's cut off my rambling definitional glee with a synonym and a definition, both neatly rolled into one easily understood word. Her English teacher would be proud.

All I know is, suck-up is just as much fun to say as lickspittle

And yes, it's going on The List.


4 comments:

  1. Oh, ha ha. Fun post, Kim. Great word. The first thing I thought of was Uriah Heep. Now there's a fawning toady. But your daughter thought of the phrase "a suck-up." Clearly, what we have here is a generational difference.

    Hey, wasn't it great that Please Ignore Vera Dietz won a Printz honor award yesterday?

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  2. Hi, Joanne! Yes, it was great! Ms King must be over the moon! I wonder if the big box bookstores will change their minds and decide to carry her book now? ;-)

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  3. I LOVE that word. Lickspittle. It's up there with Trogladyte.

    Thank you.

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  4. Hi, Cat,

    Yes, I like troglodyte, too. It's one of those words that, if you use it as an insult, the insultee will most likely not know what it means :-) (Though I would still run after I said it. You never know...)

    Thanks for visiting, and for following.

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