Tuesday 18 January 2011


'What moved thee', quoth she, 'hither to come?'
'For sooth, quoth I, to buy some of your ware.'
And with that word on me she gave a glum
With brows bent and 'gan on me to stare.
  - Skelton The Barge of Court (1499)*

Before glum became an adjective it did steady trade as a noun and a verb. People gave glums and glummed at each other an awful lot. This meant that there was an activity called glumming.

But I marvel I see him not all this same day.
I will seek him out: but lo he cometh this way.
I have yonder spied him sadly coming
And in love, for twenty pounds, by his glumming.
   - Udall Ralph Roister Doister (1556)

Twenty pounds was a lot of money in 1556, from which we can deduce that glumming has always been a sure sign of love.

Glumming seems to me exactly the sort of word that should be revived in a Jurassic Park-style linguistic experiment that's bound to go horribly wrong.

-Where's Steve?
-He's at home glumming, like always.

The thing is that, though glumming has been out of work since the Sixteenth Century, its meaning is immediately obvious to sundry and all. Try it. Use it. It might cheer you up.

It's much more fun than gloomy.

Party time at Inky Fool Mansions

*I've modernised all the spelling.

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