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Once in a while, almost everyone has a day where they just can’t summon themselves to go to work or class. For all those experiencing that feeling today, Wacky Word Wednesday has a solution: a humdudgeon.

quo topHumdudgeon /ˌhʌmˈdʌdʒən/-nounImaginary Illnessquo botHumdudgeon

A Scottish word stemming from the 18th century, humdudgeon has appeared infrequently, but was usually used to define a depressed state or an imaginary malady. The word has long been considered obsolete, apart from its rare appearance in the 2011 edition of Chambers Dictionary. The noun is a combination of two words, “hum” and “dudgeon.” “Hum” is a slang term for “a hoax,” while “dudgeon” is commonly defined as “ill humor.”

The first known usage of humdudgeon was recorded in the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, written by Captain Francis Grose in 1785:

“Hum Durgeon, an imaginary illness; he has got the hum dudgeon … nothing ails him except low spirits.”

Although this word is scarcely used, we’ve put together a few sentences putting the wacky word into action:

  • Harold won’t be in the office for the next two days because of the flu or some such humdudgeon.
  • Sally is always suffering from one humdudgeon or another; I haven’t seen her in class for over three weeks now!
  • I’m going to go check on Mike to see if he is out of his humdudgeon yet.

Remember this word the next time a friend or coworker blames illness for a last-minute change of plans or cancellation. We’ll see you next week for more wacky word fun, but in the meantime, don’t forget to check out Simply CSOFT for your daily dose of language and translation!

 

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