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Words You May Need at Christmas

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Not just Christmas; any festive time of year where people gather and tend to over-indulge. Here's a chance to impress your guests with your remarkable lexicon!

Family gathered around the dining table

Abligurition: Excessive financial outlay on food and drink, or, as Nathan Bailey put it in An Universal Etymological English Dictionary in 1721, “a prodigal spending in Belly-Cheer”.

Cherubimical: Happy-drunk. One of the many expressions in the 18th-century Drinker’s Dictionary, it's a lovely word that describes the drinker who becomes so happy and affectionate that they go around hugging everyone.

Joblijock: Any kind of domestic disturbance. Small children jumping up and down on the bed at 4am on Christmas Day or builders drilling at dawn are the “joblijocks” of modern life.

Mudita: Sanskrit word that means vicarious joy. The feeling of happiness that comes when other people are happy.

Quafftide: Gin o’clock, sun over the yardarm... Quafftide describes the moment it seems reasonable to reach for a drink.

Scurryfunge: To hastily and frenziedly tidy a house just before your guests knock on the door.

Symbel-gal: Distracted by food or drink. It's an Anglo-Saxon term that translates literally as “feast-lustful”.

Tintinnabulation: The ringing or sound of bells.

Wabbit: Exhausted, played out, knackered, feeble – all of these physical and mental states are encompassed in the Scots word “wabbit”, first recorded in the late 19th century.

Zwodder: Languorous laziness. The final entry in Joseph Wright’s 1898 English Dialect Dictionary is the perfect expression of slumberous contentment, defined as “a drowsy, stupid state of body or mind”.



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