The Toad's Words

Excursus #3

This time I give you five words instead of the standard four. Sorry, if this is overwhelming.

Uxoriousness, noun

Pronounced uke-sore-e-us-ness, accent on sore.

Excessively fond of one's wife. Another definition is excessively submissive to one's wife.

I guess (in many cases) the second can follow from the first. However, reciprocity does not necessarily apply. I also assume that uxoriousness only applies to one's wife as opposed to the neighbor's wife. (I think there is a commandment against that.) Uxorious is the adjective form of this word. Uxor is the Latin word for wife.

The psychiatrist was not convinced that Bruce's obsession with dressing in his wife's clothing had anything to do with hyperactive uxoriousness.

Expiate, verb

Pronounced ex-pea-ate, accent on ex.

To extinguish or put an end to. Usually as in extinguishing the guilt incurred by something. Also, to make amends or atone for.

This comes from the Latin ex meaning completely and pire meaning appease.

Candy made an appointment with Bruce's psychiatrist to help her expiate her offences, if, indeed, she had done anything wrong. 

Euphony, noun

Pronounced you-fun-e, accent on you.

A sweet or pleasing sound. Also, an harmonious combination of words having a pleasing sound.

Hence, the brass musical instrument, the euphonium, is much like a tuba but mellower and more pleasing. Of course, this discussion should remind you of my favorite line from Meredith Willson's Seventy-Six Trombones -- "Double bell euphoniums and big bassoons, Each bassoon having his big fat say."

After listening to Candy's euphony for a few minutes, the psychiatrist was beginning to think that there might be something, after all, to Bruce's claim of uxoriousness.

Consternation, noun

Great dismay or amazement that throws one into confusion or terror.

This comes from the noun use of the neuter past participle of the Latin sternere which means stretch out, lay down, or spread out. Sternere also was the source for "prostrate." Now, you wanted to know that, didn't you?

The consternation which Dr. Freudlinger felt after listening to and watching Candy for a full 30 minute session is something he had never felt in his 25 years of practice.

Shrove, verb

Past tense of shrive. Sorry, but this is how it is defined in my dictionary. Hence, we have to ascertain its meaning from the definition of shrive as: To have heard someone's confession, to have administered the sacrament of penance, or to have been freed from guilt. Of course, we all know of the word from 'Shrove Tuesday' - the day before Ash Wednesday. Shrive apparently has its origins in English from the phrase "prescribe penances." This came from the Anglo Saxon word scrfan meaning to decree or to prescribe. Now, the part I find interesting is that the derived noun shrift, which means the act of shriving or confessing, has led to the common expression short shrift. This expression originally referred to the short time allowed to someone who was about to be executed to say their confession.

Father Michael might have shrove Dr. Freudlinger better if Candy Macintosh had not come into the confessional just a few minutes earlier to ask for expiation, but her euphonic description of her husband's sartorial preferences and alleged uxoriousness had left him extremely consternated.

Revised: August 27, 2000

Copyright by Michael L. VanBlaricum, 04 September 2000.

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