Sunday, November 30, 2008


Word of the Day
Querulous (adjective)
Pronunciation: ['kwe-rê-lês]
Definition: Complaining, peevish, irritable, out of sorts.
Usage: Remember that this word has 3 [u]s in it, including one after the [r]. Although it looks very much like "quarrel," it does not mean "quarrelsome." From about 1550 to 1650 we had a word "quarrellous" which was synonymous with "quarrelsome," but neither meant "querulous." Today's word simply means "peevish" and refers to a proclivity to complain but not necessarily to argue or quarrel. "Querulously" is the adverb and "querulousness," the noun.
Suggested Usage: Today's word offers relief from the tired cliché about getting up on the wrong side of the bed, "Stay away from Henrietta today; she is in a very querulous mood." Remember, this word refers to whiny, peevish types, given to complaining, not quarrelling: "Wiggins is such a querulous soul that he even whines about himself!"
Etymology: Today's word comes from Old French "querelos," a direct descendant from Latin querulus "querulous," the adjective from queri "to complain." The root originated as something like *k'wes- "wheeze, pant" in Proto-Indo-European. The advanced [k'] became [s] in the Eastern PIE languages, so the word turns up in Russian svist "whistle." In the Germanic languages [k] and [k'] became [h] so in English it became "wheeze" via Old Norse hvæsa "to hiss." (The consonants [wh] are pronounced in the reverse order of their spelling in English.) –Dr. Language,

I feel like this sometimes myself. Usually when I have to go back to work after a week off.

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