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Word of the Week

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                   Tues. 8th March 2011 


  1. (noun) an American colloquialism to refer to anything you’ve forgotten the name of (like thingamajig or whatchamacallit)
  2. (noun) an informal performance of folk music
  3. (noun) a meeting of various departments within an organisation to focus minds and solve a particular problem
  4. (noun) the annual (since 1993) hogmanay TV music programme presented by Jools Holland

 History: 20th century American: origin unknown.               Mr S. King

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                   Wed. 2nd March 2011 


 (noun)  a rocket carrying scientific equipment for studying the earth’s  upper atmosphere, fired from a balloon at high altitude.

 History: 20th century, from rocket + balloon
                                                                                                       Mr S. King

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK             Tues. 22nd February 2011 


  1. (verb)   to postpone or remit a punishment
  2. (verb)   to give temporary relief
  3. (noun)  a postponement or remission of a punishment
  4. (noun)  a warrant granting a postponement

 History: 16th century, from old French repris, meaning something  taken back, from Latin reprehendere
 Example: “A one week reprieve on my chemistry homework? As if that  will make any difference!”                                                          Mr S. King

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                Mon. 7th February 2011 


 (noun)  boring, humdrum, commonplace events or occurrences –  anything that is routine and not out of the ordinary.

 History: 18th century, from old French ban, relating to compulsory  feudal service, hence common to all. 

 Example: “Our teacher came out with the usual boring banalities about  homework, preparation, attentiveness, knowing the rules, etc…then his  mobile rang and he swore. Loudly!”

                                                                                                      Mr S. King

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                Wed. 2nd February 2011 


 (verb)  to assign or redistribute new positions or tasks to people,  troops, equipment, etc. Commonly used in military tactics.

 History: 18th century, from French déployer, originally Latin displicare,  meaning to unfold. 

 Example:  “Mrs Thomson redeployed a pile of old, unused dictionaries  to p
rop her desk up when a leg came off!”
                                                                                                       Mr S. King

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                Mon. 24th January 2011 


 (noun)  the act of throwing someone or something out of a window  (usually with malicious intent)

 History: 17th century, from Latin de + fenestra, = window

 Note: Many political conflicts and wars have seen defenestrations –  for instance, Prague 1419 & 1618. In 1203 it is reported that King John  of England murdered his nephew, Arthur of Brittany, by  defenestration. In Warsaw, Poland, in 1863, Russian troops  defenestrated the composer Chopin’s piano. Luckily, he wasn’t playing  it at the time.

 Example: “I wasn’t too happy when my best mate defenestrated my  school bag just for laughing at his new haircut.”               Mr S. King

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Mon. 17th January 2011 


  1. (verb)   to entangle, snare or trap
  2. (noun)  a tangle or confusion
  3. (verb)   to move the feet or hands uncertainly, or to stumble

 History: 17th century Scottish: from fank, a coil of rope

 Example:  “Mr Sutton got himself in a bit of a fankle when I asked him  why there is only one Monopolies Commission.”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Wed. 12th January 2011 


  1. (adjective)   holding or grasping firmly or forcefully
  2. (adjective)   retentive (e.g. a tenacious memory)
  3. (adjective)   stubborn or persistent (e.g. a tenacious character)
  4. (adjective)   holding together firmly; tough and adhesive

History: 16th century: from latin tenare, to hold

Example:   “Ms Fullerton is always tenacious when it comes to homework being handed in on time. I’m very tenacious that it shouldn’t be.”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Thurs. 6th January 2011 


  1. (noun)  the manifestation of a supernatural or divine reality
  2. (noun)  any moment of great or sudden revelation
  3. (noun)  a Christian festival day held on 6th January, celebrating (in western churches) the visit of the three wise men to Christ, or (in the Eastern Church) the baptism of Christ.

 History: 17th century: from Greek epiphaneia, meaning an appearing

 Example:  “I had an epiphanic moment when I realized that there was  indeed a use for my book of logarithmic tables – I used it to stop my  table leg wobbling”

 NB – The three wise men were called Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar,  not Mr Kerr, Mr Ramsay & Mr Reid. I bet you didn’t know that!

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Mon. 20th December 2010 


  1. (noun)  a state of fear or anxiety
  2. (noun)  a condition of quaking or palpitation, especially one caused by anxiety

History: 17th century: from Latin trepidation, from trepidare, meaning to be in a state of alarm.

Example: “With a feeling of trepidation I asked Mr Murdoch for my prelim maths result…the feeling soon proved justified”


 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK             Tues. 7th December 2010 


  1. (verb)   to make a place or building defensible by building walls, digging trenches, etc
  2. (verb)   to strengthen physically, mentally or morally
  3. (verb)   to strengthen, reinforce or support (a structure or garment)
  4. (verb)   to add spirits to wine to produce sherry, port etc
  5. (verb)   to increase the nutritional value of food or drink by adding vitamins and minerals
  6. (verb)   to support or confirm an argument with facts

 History: 15th century: from Old French fortifier, originally from Latin  fortis, strong, and facere, to make.

 Example: “I fortified myself with a strong cup of coffee before entering  the bear-pit that is the 1F English class…”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK               Wed. 1st December 2010 


  1. (adjective)   emitting light as a consequence of being heated to a high temperature
  2. (adjective)   (informal) extremely angry, raging

 History: 18th century: from Latin incandescere, to become hot or  glow, originally from candere, to be white

 Example: “Mrs Marshall was incandescent with rage when I told her  my homework had been used to mop up my wee sister’s wee accident!”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK            Tues. 23rd November 2010 


  1. (noun)  (Scots) spirit, guts, mettle, bravery or vigour
  2. (noun)  any fine powder or dust

 History: from old English smedema, a fine flour

 Example: “It took real smeddum to admit to setting those fireworks off  in class, laddie!”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK            Tues. 16th November 2010 


  1. (verb) to take an active dislike or aversion to something or someone
  2. (verb) to produce a feeling of dislike or loathing in someone else
  3. (noun) a strong aversion (ie to take a scunner to someone)
  4. (noun) an object of dislike or annoyance (or any S1 pupil)

 History: C14th Scots, from skunnyr or skowner, meaning to shrink              back, or flinch

 Example: “Git yer smelly feet af the table, yer wee scunner!”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK            Wed. 10th November 2010 


  1. (adjective)   peaceful or tranquil
  2. (adjective)   clear or bright (a serene sky)
  3. (adjective)   (often capitalized) a title of honour used as part of certain royal titles (his Serene Highness)

 History: C16th, from Latin serenus, meaning clear, fair, bright or  tranquil

 Example: “I don’t think I’ve ever taught such a serene lesson- certain  members of the class were absent – I’m sure there’s a link!”

 Associated words: serenity, serenade, serendipity, serenely,  sereneness

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK      Wednesday, 3rd November 2010 


  1. (adjective)   stupefied with drink; intoxicated
  2. (adjective)   infatuated, doting
  3. (adjective)   foolish; muddled

History: old English, from medieval Latin sottus, meaning a fool.  

Example: “I know you’re besotted with her, son – that doesn’t give you an excuse to drool all the time..”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK          Tuesday, 26th October 2010 


 (noun) a person’s brother or sister

 ‘sibling rivalry’ is why you hate the sights of your brother or sister, but  would probably stand up for them if anyone else ‘had a go’ at them

 History: from old English sibb, related to old Norse sifjar (= relative),  and old High German sippa, meaning kinship

 Example:  “How many more McPike siblings are there? Is it a production  line?”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK            Monday, 4th October 2010 


  1. (noun)  a fictitious name adopted, especially by an author

 History: 19th century French, from the Greek pseudonumon, meaning  false name (pseudes = false)

 Example:  “There’s no point in trying to adopt a pseudonym,  McIlvanney. I know who you are.”

 NB: “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them” which is required  reading at Hogwarts School, was actually written by JK Rowling under  the pseudonym Newt Scamander.

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK         Monday, 27th September 2010     


  1. (adjective)   of, relating to , or afflicted by neurosis, a relatively mild mental disorder, characterized by symptoms such as hysteria, anxiety, depression or obsessive behaviour
  2. (noun)  a person who is emotionally unstable or unusually anxious

 History: From the Greek neuron, meaning nerve, and related to the  Latin nervus

 Example:  “I don’t know who’s more neurotic – some members of my  S1 English class or my paranoid dog. I know who takes more notice of  me, though…”         

 MR KING'S BIRD OF THE WEEK             Tues, 21st September 2010     


 1. (noun)  a type of European falcon, falco subbuteo, similar in size to  a Kestrel, but with more grey on the back. The most agile falcon in  the UK, it feeds on insects and birds. 
 2. (noun)  an activity pursued in spare time for relaxation or  enjoyment  3. (noun)  a small horse or pony
 4. (noun)  an early type of bicycle, without pedal         

 History: From middle Dutch hobbelen, meaning to roll or turn (from  the bird’s flight). Peter Adolph (1916-94) failed to have his table-top  football game patented as “Hobby” in 1946/7 so he used the latin  name for a hobby instead – subbuteo. (Subbuteo in Latin means small  falcon)

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK          Mon, 13th September 2010    


  1. (noun)  a holy place
  2. (noun)  a consecrated building or temple
  3. (noun)  a sacred building where fugitives were formerly entitled to immunity from arrest or execution
  4. (noun)  any place of safety or refuge
  5. (noun)  a place protected by law where animals, especially birds, can live and breed without interference

 History: 14th century: from Old French sainctuarie, originally from  Late Latin sanctuarum, a repository for holy things, and sanctus,  meaning holy.

 Example: After Mr King intervened to stop an argument over who was  going to borrow the new issue of Top Gear, he retired to the  sanctuary of his office for a bit of piece and quiet..

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK           Mon, 6th September 2010    


  1. (verb)   to broadcast music in public through the loudspeaker of a mobile phone.
  2. (noun)  an annoying, tinny sound that seems to follow certain members of the community around wherever they go.

History: 21st century: from “sod”, meaning anything unpleasant, and “cast” from broadcast, originally meaning to throw something out to a wider audience. Derived from “podcast”, the uploading of material – usually music -  from the internet to a personal storage device

Examples: Well, just walk down any High Street or scheme. You’ll get the idea! 

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Tues, 31 August 2010    


  1. (adjective)   not susceptible to control or authority; unmanageable or obstinate
  2. (noun)  a recalcitrant person; one who is difficult to control

 History: 19th century: via French, from Latin recalcitrare, from RE +  calcitrare, to kick, originally from calx, heel

 Example: Mrs Ford: “It’s one thing having to put up with recalcitrant  pupils – but now some of the teachers are showing the same  tendencies!”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Wed, 25 August 2010    


 (noun) unconventional words, phrases, pronunciations or errors spoken  by the 43rd President of the United States, George W Bush (served  two terms: 2000-2008).
 Bushisms can also state such obvious facts that we are surprised we  didn’t think of them before.
 Bush was, and is, perhaps more remembered for his bushisms than for  anything else during his presidency.
 Good examples include:
      “They misunderestimated me
       “I think war is a dangerous place”
      “I know the human being and the fish can co-exist peacefully” 

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Wed, 16 June 2010    


  1. (verb)   to catch fish with the hands by groping under water
  2. (verb)   to dabble in the water like a duck
  3. (verb)   to play in the gutters, mud or puddles
  4. (verb)   to do work of a dirty or greasy nature
  5. (noun)  a mess, muddle or confusion
  6. (noun)  a person who does things in a messy,   slovenly way
  7. (verb)   to stab or hack at a body
  8. (noun)  a crowbar or pointed iron bar for making holes in fence posts

 History: Scots: mainly uncertain, but some definitions from the English  muddle and puddle

 Example: “Mrs Ford accused me of having a guddled desk worse than  the inside of a third year’s sports bag.”    here.

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Wed, 09 June 2010    


  1. (noun)      a flat bladelike projection at the end of an anchor
  2. (noun)      either of the two lobes of the tail of a whale
  3. (noun)      the barbed head of a harpoon or arrow
  4. (noun)      an accidental stroke of luck
  5. (noun)      any chance happening
  6. (verb)       to gain, make or hit by a fluke
  7. (noun)      a parasitic flatworm of the classes Monogenea and                  Digenea
  8. (noun)      another name for the flat-fish the flounder

History:  From Old Saxon flaka (sole) & Old High German flah (smooth). Fluke as a chance happening: 19th century, origins unknown.

Example: “It was a pure fluke that saved me from being hit by the fluke of a whale when I fell overboard – fancy being winched up with my jeans caught in the fluke of the anchor! I knew we shouldn’t have gone fluke fishing that day…”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Thursday, 03 June 2010


 (noun)  the occurrence and development of events by chance in a  happy or beneficial way, or the happy knack of finding something lost,  whilst looking for something else.

 History:   Serendip is a former name for Sri Lanka: Originally used by Sir  Horace Walpole (1717-97), British politician and writer, from ‘The  Princes of Serendip’ the English translation of a Persian fairy-tale, in  which the heroes possessed this gift.

 Example: “It was pure serendipity that unearthed my overdue library  book, whilst I was searching for some relatively clean socks.”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Tuesday, 25th May 20


 (noun)  a small type of wallaby, latin name Setonix brachyurus, of  Western Australia, mainly living on offshore islands.

 History: from a native Australian language

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Thursday, 20th May 20


  1. (verb)       to shake, sway or rock from side to side
  2. (noun)      a shake, push or nudge 

 History:  from lowland Scots shog  or  shug; originally from High  German schaukeln, meaning to shake

 Example: “Give me a quick shoogle if I fall asleep in maths again!”

 NB: The old tram cars were known as "shooglies." And if someone's  "jacket is on a shoogly peg" he or she is in danger of getting the sack!

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Monday, 10th May 2010


 (noun)  an irresponsible, flighty, silly or gossipy  person (usually,  though not exclusively female) 

 History:15thC Old English, from flipergebet, meaning uncertain

 Example: “The new art teacher is a bit of a flibbertigibbet: she floats  about with her head in the clouds and a paintbrush tucked behind her  ear”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Wednesday, 05 May 2010


 1. (noun)   obstreperous girl or woman; female upstart. 
 2. (noun)   woman of low moral  standing; a hussy ("Thon yin's  a         right mucky besom")
 3. (noun)    broomstick or any broom made from loose                                     twigs.
 4. (noun)    a comet or its tail

History: Mainly Scottish: origins uncertain: possibly from Old English bysen (“example”), from Norse bysn (“wonder”), or from Old English besma, related to Old High German besmo (“broom”)


 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Wednesday, 05 May 2010


  1. (noun) a wrinkle, crease or fold in something (usually              clothing)
  2. (verb)  to put wrinkles or creases in something
  3. (verb)  to puff out or to bulge

 History: C18th Scottish, from the English bump
 Example: “After falling asleep again in my French class my shirt got all bumfled up.”                  

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Mon, 19th April 2010


  1. (noun) a stocky omnivorous mammal, with strong claws, a thick coat, and a black and white striped head
  2. (verb) to pester or harass

 History: C16th, possibly originally from badge, linked to the white mark  on the forehead
 Example: “I wish Mr Taylor would stop badgering me for my Maths  homework. He knows I’ve fed it to the hamster.” 

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Mon, 29th March 2010

plouter or plowter

  1. (verb)       to work, play, or splash about in water or mud
  2. (verb)       to potter about aimlessly
  3. (noun)      the act of ploutering

 History:C19th Scots, derivation unknown

 Example: “Beattie! Stop yer plouterin’ aboot in the puddles – this is  supposed to be a cross-country race!”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Mon, 22nd March 2010


 (adjective) Offensively self-assertive or conceited, often over-loud and  cocksure

 History: C19th, probably from bump and fractious

 Example: “The car-park attendant’s bumptious behaviour was typical of  the ‘small man, big ego’ syndrome”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Mon, 15th March 2010


(pronounced hooch-ter-chooCH-ter)

 (adjective) a (usually derogatory) description of Scottish folk and  country dance music

 History:   C20th, uncertain. Possibly onomatopoeic, or derived from teuchter,  a mildly derogatory name for a Highlander

 Example: “Every time I turn on the radio it’s that heuchter-teuchter  rubbish” 

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                  Tues, 2nd March 2010


 (verb) (Mainly US and Canadian) To throw into confusion, or wreck  plans

 History: C20th, uncertain, perhaps derived from discompose or  discomfit

 Example: “Mr Reid discombobulated the whole class by asking them to  sit facing the back of the room”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Thurs, 25th February 2010


 1 - (verb chiefly Scots) To speak foolishly

 2 - (noun) Foolish talk, nonsense

 3 - (noun) Harmless talk, gossip

 4 - (noun) A person who blethers
 History: C15th, from old Norse blathra, from blathr,  meaning foolish 

 Example: “Mrs Dunsmuir liked nothing better than a good blether  round  the tea-urn in the staff-room.”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Tues, 9th February 2010


 1 - (noun) a lawyer of inferior status who conducts unimportant cases,  especially one who is unscrupulous or resorts to trickery
 2 - (noun) any person who quibbles or fusses over details
 History: C16th, from petty, meaning trivial (from the French petit), and  Fugger, a C15th-C16th German family of financiers

 Example: “Mr King was accused of being a pettifogger when he insisted  that all the books in his library were labelled in exactly the same way”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Tues, 2nd February 2010


 1 - (noun) excited public interest, the clamour attending some  sensational event, or a hullabaloo
 2  -(noun) an episode involving excitement, turmoil, confusion, etc,  especially over a minor or trivial case
 History:  C16th, French, from exclamations made by characters  representing the devil in French drama

 Example: “There was a bit of a brouhaha over Mushy’s speech at Burns  Night: especially when he accused Fraser of not wearing the kilt in the  traditional style!”                                 

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Tues, 26th January 2010


 (noun) (scots)  a very thin person, all skin-and-bones, or an  emaciated creature
 History: C18th, from skinny, meaning very thin, and hlekkr, c14th  Scandanavian, meaning connected or tied                 

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Tues, 19th January 2010


  1. (adjective)   defiantly aggressive, sullen, or obstreperous
  2. (adjective)   (archaic) savage, fierce, or harsh

 History: from C16th, from Latin truculentus, from trux, meaning fierce     

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Tues, 15th December 2009


 (noun) the formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound  of the noise or action designated, such as hiss, buzz, bang, splat, etc.

 History:(1-6): from C16th , originally from Greek onoma, meaning  name, and poiein, to make             

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK              Tues, 8th December 2009


  1. (verb)       to strike blows (at), especially with a closed fist
  2. (verb)       (American) to herd or drive cattle
  3. (noun)      a blow with the fist
  4. (noun)      telling force, point, or vigour
  5. (noun)      a tool or machine for piercing holes
  6. (noun)      any or various tools used to knock a rivet, etc, out of a hole
  7. (noun)      any mixed drink, usually hot, alcoholic, and spiced
  8. (noun)      the main character in a traditional children’s puppet show 

History:(1-6): from c17th middle English pounce or punson, meaning pointed tool (7): from c17th Hindi pānch, meaning five (the drink originally contained five ingredients (8): The figure of Punch derives from the Neapolitan stock character of Pulcinella, which was Anglicized to Punchinello.        

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                Mon, 30 November 2009


 (noun)  an abnormal fear of the number thirteen

 History: 20th century, from Greek triskaideka, meaning thirteen, and  Greek phobos, fear                                                                           

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                Mon, 23 November 2009


  1. (verb)  in Maths, to estimate (a value or measurement) beyond the values already known, by the extension of a curve       
  2. (verb) to infer something not known by using, but not strictly deducing from, known facts          

History:19th century, from extra, Latin meaning more, and polate, from Latin polire, to polish

NB: Compare with interpolate, which has several meanings, including “to estimate (a value or measurement) between values already known”

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                Mon, 16 November 2009


  1. (adjective)           comical in an endearing way: imaginatively funny or comical, especially in behaviour      
  2. (noun)          a clown or buffoon, especially one in old comedies who imitated other performers with ludicrous effect                                                                          
  3. (noun)          a ludicrous or foolish person        
History:16th century, from Italian zanni, a nickname for Giovanni (John) – John being one of the traditional names for a clown.

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                 Tues, 10 November 2009


 (noun)  a person who delights in spreading rumour or disaster

 History: (scare) - 12th century, from old Norse skirra, related to           Norwegian skjerra & Swedish dialect skjarra, meaning to           frighten
          (monger) – from old English mangere, ultimately from Latin           mango, meaning to trade or deal

 MR KING'S WORD OF THE WEEK                


[adv] - in an exponential manner  (informal - very rapidly)                  


1. [adj] Of or relating to an exponent                                            
2. Mathematics a. Containing, involving, or expressed as an exponent.
b. Expressed in terms of a designated power of e, the base of natural logarithms