Word of the day – purfle
Purfle is a very handy word that means “to decorate the surface of a violin”.
I came across it today in an article about the completion and publication after 45 years of the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary – the first historical thesaurus in the world in any language. The Thesaurus sorts words by date and meaning into more than 236,000 categories and subcategories, and the oldest words date back to about 700 AD.
Interesting discoveries include 265 ways to say ‘immediately’, multiple Anglo-Saxon words for diseases of the feet, as well as all sorts of words for stupid people, including medwis, modigleas, samwis, ungerad and stuntlic from the time of King Alfred (849-899); dumpish, dorbellical and grout-headed from Shakespeare’s time; and numskulled, born-muzzy, ram-headed and chuckleheaded from the late 18th / early 19th century.