Wondrous Words. Words New To Me #4

I have three new words for today’s Wondrous Words. Words New To Me #4, a new instalment in this fascinating series. This time I have an interesting mix of words. The first word is from a non-fiction history book on the Spanish Civil War, it was from a quote of something a MP said. I am not sure if this word is still used today, as, obviously, nobody said it around me at any point.

The second word is from a word search puzzle, so I couldn’t figure out what it was without searching online. I think this is the first time I see an unknown word in a puzzle like that one. Also, I never watch cricket, mainly because I don’t know the rules. My husband pointed out that at Boat Race it’s umpire too, but I didn’t remember the term from there.

Lastly, augur is not exactly a new word for me. It is the same with a Romanian word. I just had no idea about its origins and that it is used in English, well, if someone ever talks/writes about specialised Roman priests that is. In Romanian the word means omen, in a positive way. It’s nothing special about it, just an everyday word that everybody knows and uses regularly.

dagoes, plural for dago is a disparaging term for a person of Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese descent.

umpire is a person who is present at a sports competition in order to make certain that the rules of that particular game are obeyed and to judge if particular actions are acceptable.

augur a Roman priest and official. He had to interpret the will of the gods and also played a role at inaugurations of kings.

Are you familiar with these words? I am curious about the first, mostly, if it’s still used or known today or not. Tell me your thoughts in the comments.

5 thoughts on “Wondrous Words. Words New To Me #4”

  • I’m three for three this time!

    I haven’t heard Dago in years and I realize now it’s quite un-PC, but I don’t remember words like that always being slurs. They were just identifiers, like a Mick or a Yank, or a Kraut. (maybe those are slurs, too?)

    American Baseball and Softball have umpires.

    I’ve read tons of Roman history, both fiction and non-fiction, so the word Augur often crops up. (not to be confused with a haruspex, who examined entrails!)
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    • I didn’t know about kraut. In Britain Germans were called Fritz in WWI, which was a bit puzzling when I read it for the first time and I thought they are mentioning a person called Fritz.
      What do you think about gringo? Do you see it as a slur?

      I had no idea that umpires are so common, I feel silly for not knowing the word after all these years in UK. :))

      • I don’t see gringo as a slur, though I can think of other terms for the same ethnicity that would be. I guess it really comes down to the individual. Some folks are touchy about stuff like that, others not so much. I’m not the type to get offended and I’m sure there are plenty of names a WASP woman from the southern US could be called!
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  • Oh Dear! Now you have opened up a real can of worms – ‘Dago’ was in everyday use some 40 years ago when I was young, alongside some other very choice words for other different nationalities. However, given how much of a multi-cultural and PC correct society we have become, I wouldn’t dare say it in public, or even commit it to paper these days, for fear of being mob lynched!
    There are so many sports which use the services of an ‘umpire’, that this is an everyday word for me, although Dave is not much of a sports fan, so we seldom watch these days. We have Wimbledon coming up, so you will see plenty of umpires and line judges then, if you like tennis that is?
    ‘Augur’ is another word I would still use occasionally, although it is a little dated now. However unlike in Romanian, although it is also an omen in English, it can either be a good or bad sign. The dictionary actually says “(of an event or circumstance) can portend a good or bad outcome”. The English language is really good at having a single word with multiple meanings – it’s amazing that anyone ever bothers to try learning it!
    A great post, it was good to chat to you about your words 🙂

    • Aww, I hope nobody is upset by me mentioning this word. It is a cultural difference, that’s for sure. If used in an academic or literary context, no words are considered off-limit in Romania, how the word is used is relevant while the word in itself is not.

      I imagine that I will hear umpire lots of times from now on. 😀 I play tennis, but seldom watched Wimbledon before. I might this year, as we have tennis club membership, so we are more involved in the sport.

      Nice to know about augur, that’s interesting. You know, I prefer writing in English, as the words are more nuanced than in Romanian, so it offers more freedom of expression. If I have to say/write the same thing in both languages, the result is quite different.

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