Busticate: More Word-Of-The-Day Fun!

Today’s word of the day from Dictionary.com is “busticate,” a transitive verb meaning “to break into pieces.”

The dictionary at Yahoo links from this word to a discussion on mock-Latinate formations, concerning the word “absquatulate,” an intransitive verb meaning to abscond, to die, or to argue.
They say:

In the 19th century, the vibrant energy of American English appeared in the use of Latin affixes to create jocular pseudo-Latin “learned” words. There is a precedent for this in the language of Shakespeare, whose plays contain scores of made-up Latinate words. Midwestern and Western U.S. absquatulate has a prefix ab-, “away from,” and a suffix -ate, “to act upon in a specified manner,” affixed to a nonexistent base form -squatul-, probably suggested by squat. Hence the whimsical absquatulate, “to squat away from.” Another such coinage is Northern busticate, which joins bust with -icate by analogy with verbs like medicate. Southern argufy joins argue to a redundant -fy, “to make; cause to become.” Today, these creations have an old-fashioned and rustic flavor curiously at odds with their elegance. They are kept alive in regions of the United States where change is slow. For example, Appalachian speech is characterized by the frequent use of words such as recollect, aggravate, and oblige.

And here’s the link:
http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry?id=A0028300

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About Loranne Brown

Loranne Brown, MFA: Journalist and novelist (The Handless Maiden, Doubleday Canada 1998) teaches Professional Writing at Trinity Western University, Langley, BC. Blog: https://whatisitwithwriting.wordpress.com/ Twitter: @MFAGals @LoranneBrown View all posts by Loranne Brown

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