Monday, November 29, 2010

A Pudifying Etymonday


I adopted this word on Saturday but discovered too late that it didn't appear (at least in this particular form) in any of my desk dictionaries--not the New Oxford American (3rd ed.--alack! I didn't check the 2nd ed., but left it in exile under a bookcase in the coldest corner of my living room); not the Merriam-Websters Third New International, not even the Shorter Oxford English. I didn't find it on Wordnik either, and I still haven't bothered to google it.

Uh, but they did all have the likely root word: pudency which mean 'modesty' and comes from Latin pudentia, a form of pudere, meaning 'to make or be ashamed' which I take to be the intended meaning of today's word as well--so this post is another riff on my Shameful Bits post from ages past.

I think somebody ought to write up pudify as a cleric spell. Sort of a specific, limited charm person or cause fear--and here I apologize for referring to the spells not by their canonical names but by generic equivalent phrases. Except that charm person is the proper name.

Here's a picture of Thomas More confronting Cardinal Wolsey (because we're reading Wolf Hall in my book club). I'm not sure which is pudifying the other, but I'm sure there's plenty of that going on.

I found it here. He found it here. The painting is by Vivian Forbes and dates from 1927.


K said...

I rescued your neglected 2nd ed. NOAD (edited by your forgotten first love, Erin McKean) from under the bookcase in the coldest corner of our living room, and she's got nothing on you.

I also googled 'pudify' and (after redirecting myself from google's insistence I meant 'nidify', which should be pudification enough for google) I found Lost Word's definition:

pudify (v) 1656 -1656: to cause to be ashamed, as in "Your remarks do not pudify me, for you are as guilty of such offenses as I am!"

So, congratulations on pinpointing an accurate definition, and also congratulations on this very blogpost now being the third google hit on the word. Way to protect and promote endangered members of our dear lexicon!


K said...


(1) I think I meant "pudifying enough" instead of "pudification enough for google" in the previous comment. Boo.

(2) 'pudify' is also a member of flickr! if you skate through some of pudify's knitting projects, you'll find an amazing knitted giant squid which I'm incredibly jealous of, given my own recent crafting ahem, projects.

Ick the Ark said...

Dear Nikkou-Dot,

I am so glad to hear you will be wearing a knitted giant squid at our wedding. Or maybe a nidified giant squid would be better.

Wait, does the Lost Word entry actually say it was only attested once--in 1656? How did anyone even find it?

It's enough to make me pudify on boobs!