Saturday, October 1, 2011


Wordmonger \WURD-muhng-ger\ or \WURD-mong-ger\ , noun;
1. A writer or speaker who uses words pretentiously or with careless disregard for meaning
2. A person skilled in the use of words

Well, this is interesting. The online dictionaries seem to agree on the first definition, while the Oxford English Dictionary claims that as the original definition, but now it can also mean the second. Is it just me, or are they opposites? What do you think of when you hear wordmonger?

The word is a combination of word + monger, which dates to 1590. Monger comes from Old English mangere, from Proto-Germanic mangojan, which derives from Latin mango ("dealer, trader"). The Latin word is a noun derivative of Greek manganon ("contrivance, means of enchantment"), which derives from the Proto-Indo-European base *mang- ("to embellish, dress, trim"). Using it in combination form in English (like wordmonger, fishmonger, whoremonger, etc.) dates to at least the 12th century, though the negative connotation of that type of compound didn't happen until the 16th century. There was a verb form of monger in Old English, but it was lost and regained from the noun version in the early 1900's.

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