Words for the Week: Q

Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘Q’. 

Quisquous (adjective): Perplexing, debatable, dubious. 

I can’t pronounce it in any way to make it stop sounding like the ‘Kwazy Cupcakes’ version of ‘criss-cross’. I can’t do it. It perplexes me. Lol. 

Querimony (noun): A complaint; complaining. 

This one reminds me of querulous. So now I’m thinking of the lil ‘pleep pleep’ birds from last week, only this time they’re writing letters to The Times about each other – but in the abstract so they’ll actually get printed. 

Quignogs (noun): Cornwall. Ridiculous notions or conceits. Origin unclear. 

I guess it’s a sort of nonsense word – as in: “argh, you and your quignogs!” The conclusion I’m reaching is that all ‘q’ words remind me of other words – this one makes me think of ‘eggnog’ – and I don’t even really know what eggnog is, except violently alcoholic? 

Quizcuss (noun): Cheshire. A meddlesome, inquisitive person. In Lincolnshire, a prying person was called, simply, a quiz

So maybe this is where ‘quiz’ actually comes from – never mind that ridiculous story of one guy writing it on all the walls in a city in a night to win a bet. Or did ‘quiz’ come first? 

Quank (adjective): Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire. Still, quiet. The verb use means ‘subdue, quieten. Someone who settled disputes was a quanker

I’m not surprised this one didn’t catch on in the standard. It doesn’t sound anything like ‘quiet’ – it sounds more like ‘clank’, or ‘quack’ – both very definitely noisy words. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.


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