effluvium

Pronounced: ih-FLOO-vee-uhm, noun

Notes: You may know this word; it is a “borderline” word


Yesterday’s word

The word grimalkin means

  • an old female cat
  • an ill-tempered older woman
First usage

This word came into English around 1600 (the late 1500s to the early 1600s)

Background / Comments

I think I’ve run across our word in one of its meanings, but I cannot recall the details. It is thought our word comes from a corruption of gray combined with malkin, which is a diminutive of the proper name Maud. It is not clear to me how Maud came to refer to a woman. It is clear that gri (gray) refers to being older, as in “gray-headed”.

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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