Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Osculable


Osculable means kissable, but is a much more beautiful word. According to the OED, poor osculable has only been used once, in 1893, to describe the Pope. So the word is nearly virginal and should be taken out and shown to the world.

The Latin for kiss was osculare, and the obscure English words thence derived are wonderful. There's an osculatrix (a lady who kisses), an oscularity (a kiss), and an osculary (anything that can and should be kissed (although this was usually a religious relic)).

So repeat after me:

Pretty? She's a regular osculary.

It's one short of fangast.

There are also a fair few osculatory words in geometry, for when two curves touch at a single point they are said to kiss.

5 comments:

  1. I have been reading your blog for a little while now and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Thank you!

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  2. An osculary sounds more like a shopkeeper of an obscure kind. Presumably, a man who kisses is an osculator. Now : if an osculatrix were to meet an osculator on an escalator...

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  3. Can't let this pass without drawing your attention to Pierre de Manchicourt's sublime setting of the text "Osculetur me osculo oris sui" from the Song of Songs, featured here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maGfTHKeYJY&t=1m23s

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  4. How do you titilate an ocelot?
    You osculate its titalot.

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  5. The original joke has oscillate--which spoonerises better--but I've always preferred osculation to ossillation, titillation-wise. Don't know how ocelots feel about it, though. '

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