a person who has a remarkably retentive memory.
Memorist is a rare word. When it entered English in the late 17th century, it meant “one who prompts the memory or conscience.” Memorist was revived in the late 19th century as an Americanism meaning “one who has a retentive or prodigious memory.”
As a memorist he is phenomenally endowed, his retentiveness so acute that he recites readily without reference or prompting, declamations committed in his schoolboys days more than seventy years ago.
… a memorist appeared on a Sunday morning TV show. He was introduced to the 100 or so youngsters in the audience and repeated all of their names back to them at the end of the show.
Southern U.S. ill temper; grumpiness.
The extravagant spelling variants of mulligrubs, e.g., mulligrums, mouldy-grubs, merlygrubs, muddigrubs, mullygrumps, murdiegrups,… at least show very plainly that mulligrubs has no sound etymology. Mulligrums “low spirits, bad temper, bad mood” first appears at the end of the 16th century. (Some scholars suggest a relationship between mulligrums and the slightly earlier noun megrims “melancholy, low spirits.”) A quarter of a century later, about 1625, mulligrubs meant “stomachache, diarrhea” and a few years later “ill-tempered or surly person.”
Ma has a case of the mulligrubs here lately and some of the kinfolks figure it might be caused by reading the papers too much.
I think when it comes I will enjoy it. It is just the coming that fills me with the mulligrubs.
Noel has been in English since the 13th century as a forename and family name (e.g., Nuwel, Nuuel) for those born or baptized on Christmas or during the Christmas season. In the late 14th century, Nowel is used as an exclamation of joy in The Canterbury Tales (this usage remains only in Christmas carols). In the late-14th century alliterative poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Nowel meant “Christmas day, the feast of Christmas, Christmastide.” Middle English shows several spellings, e.g., Newel, Nouel, Nowelle, Nowel, all derived from Anglo-French, Middle French, and Old French forms (Nowel, Nowelle, Nouel, Noel), Noël in French. The spellings with o (e.g., Noel) are a variant of spellings with a (e.g., Nael) that began in the 12th century. Nael is a regular French development from Latin nātālis (in full, diēs nātālis “birthday”).
… be sure to wish Tops a joyous Noel.
… the special season for such innocent gaiety is the Christmastide when they celebrate Noël with a joyous fervour not to be outdone elsewhere.
the deepest feelings; the strongest affections: to tug at one's heartstrings.
The original meaning of heartstrings was physical, or anatomical to be precise. A heartstring was one of the nerves or tendons that supposedly support and brace the heart; heartstrings (the plural) referred to the aorta and pulmonary artery (no longer in scientific use). By the 16th century the heartstrings were conceived as the source of a person’s feelings and emotions. Heartstring in its original anatomical sense entered English in the 15th century.
Little kids singing and smiling never failed to tug at the heartstrings.
There was no choice now, but to bear the pang of whatever heartstrings were snapt asunder, and that illusive torment … by which a past mode of life prolongs itself into the succeeding one.
to stuff full, especially with food or drink; gorge.
The adjective stodgy “thick, heavy, dull (of food, clothes, books, people)” is fairly common, but not so its source, the verb stodge “to stuff full, gorge; trudge along.” Stodgy appeared in the 19th century and applied to glutinous mud and roads; a quarter of a century later (in the 1850s), stodgy referred to heavy foods like porridge or potatoes; in the 1870s stodgy meant “dull, boring (of people, one’s own life).” The etymology of stodge is unknown; it entered English in the 17th century.
A “City man,” on the other hand … stodges his stomach with rich food three times a day …
… as he cuts, bolts, and gulps, smacks, sniffs, and stodges, his eyes examine, his eyes observe, the ever-diminishing remnant upon the plate …
a sweetheart or beloved mate.
The turtle in turtledove has nothing to do with the aquatic and terrestrial reptile whose trunk is enclosed in a shell. The ultimate derivation of the reptilian turtle is Greek Tartaroûchos “controlling Tartarus, holding the nether world”; the word turtle entered English in the 17th century. Turtledove is a compound of Old English turtla, from Latin turtur “turtledove,” imitating the call of the bird. Dove comes from Old English dufe, dūfe and is related to the verb dive. Similar forms are found in other Germanic languages. Turtledove entered English in the 14th century.
You look anything but miserable, my turtledove. In fact, I never saw you look so well.
A whole new world was mine the day … I met my turtledove … for since we’ve been together … my heart has been in love.
of or relating to winter; wintry.
Hibernal “wintry, appearing in winter” and also “pertaining to the winter of life” comes straight from the Late Latin adjective hībernālis “wintry,” first appearing in the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible as edited or translated by St. Jerome). Hībernālis comes from Latin hībernus, which comes from a hypothetical Proto-Indo-European adjective gheimrinos, source also of Greek cheimerinós “in winter, winter’s,” and Slavic (Polish) zimny “cold.” Gheimrinos is formed from the Proto-Indo-European root ghei-, ghi- “snow, winter.” The form ghimo- appears in the Sanskrit noun himá- “cold, frost, snow,” familiar to us in the Himālaya Mountains, “Snow’s abode.” Hibernal entered English in the 17th century.
The sky was in its grey wintry mood where there is no blue break in the clouds to be expected, no bright spell to hope for, nothing for it but to accept the hibernal darkness the way you accept love or death.
Here’s where to engage in sledding, animal tracking, tree tapping, cross-country skiing, and other hibernal pursuits without ever leaving town.