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Lost Positives

edited September 2010 in Writing
Were you gruntled before something made you disgruntled? Peccable before you became so untidy - or impeccable? 'Lost Positives' - fascinating.

The root of these words has completely fallen out of use or even definition over the centuries.

There are various lists of Lost Positives - see below for some of Alan Headblooom's examples - but what I want to know is, what was 'gruntled'? When were you 'peccable' (apart from Clive Barker's Peccable in Imajica)?

I'm fascinated by the roots of other Lost Positives; where did they come from and why are they no longer used? Maybe we can reintroduce them?

Sample of Alan Headbloom's List of Lost Positives

acculate > an immaculate apartment [completely tidy/clean, no dirt]
ept > an inept person [incompetent]
couth > an uncouth slob [ill-mannered, crude, unrefined]
(h)eveled > a disheveled appearance [messy, untidy]
requited > an unrequited love [not given back, unreciprocated]
gruntled > a disgruntled employee [angry, very dissatisfied]
ane > an inane subject [foolish, stupid]
(e)briated > an inebriated man [drunken]
furl > to unfurl the flag [unfold, unroll]
wieldy > an unwieldy package [awkward, hard to carry]]
gainly > an ungainly teenager [clumsy, awkward]
cognito > be traveling incognito [disguised, unrecognizable]
peccable > an impeccable appearance [very tidy, without flaws]


  • Furl reminded me of a strange line in the song Welcome to my World ..

    "I'll be standing there, with my arms unfurled .."

    I know you can unfurl a flag but arms ..??
  • I'm sure I've seen a few of these being used, Lily: couth, requited and furl. Perhaps ept is an adaptation of apt?
  • what about being ruthless?
  • [quote=LilyC]Lost Positives; where did they come from and why are they no longer used?[/quote]
    Sometimes, an unsubstantiated statement becomes adopted as fact which is then believed to be truth.

    Sorry, Monday morning may be the wrong time of week for this but I feel onbiged to correct at least half of that Alan Headbloom list.

    Reference to any good dictionary reveals word and meaning. these are quotes from The Concise Oxford Dictionary.

    couth = cultured, well mannered. [back-form. as antonym of uncouth]
    requite = make return for, reward or avenge. ..... give in return (requite person's love, like for like)
    gruntled (colloquial) = pleased, satisfied [back-form. f. disgruntled]
    furl = roll up and bind (sail on yard or boom; umbrella, flag); close (fan), fold up (wings), draw away (curtain), relinguish (hopes).
    wield (literary) = control, command, hold and use, manage with the hands or otherwise.
    gainful = lucrative, remunerative; bent on gain; paid (employment); hence gainly {adverb} [f. gain + ful]
    cognition (Philosophical) = action or faculty of knowing, percieving, conceiving, as opposed to emotion and volition; ..... [f. Latin: cognito]
    peccable = liable to sin.
  • Keep going!!
  • Well done, Jan. Impeccable research.
  • If those are the options for 'furl', then it definitely wouldn't be possible for anyone to stand with their arms 'unfurled', just to make a rhyme for 'world'.

    I remember hearing someone described as standing 'with legs akimbo' and it sounded a very unlikely position!
  • I just heard that - furl and world in a song earlier today.
  • Was it Welcome to my World?
  • not sure. Playing a set of Elvis CDs at the moment - it's either Elvis or Four Tops and can't quite remember which song it was. Might have been.
  • I find the whole idea of unfurling arms quite bizarre. To me, it is ferns that unfurl. The thought of coiled arms is... odd.
  • Aware of the tease in Dwight's comment:
    [quote= Dwight]Impeccable research.[/quote]
    "We" don't want to become trite; not that I wish you to be contrite.

    As for:
    [quote=Jenny]I know you can unfurl a flag but arms ..?? ...standing 'with legs akimbo'...[/quote]
    [quote=LilyC]it is ferns that unfurl. The thought of coiled arms[/quote]
    Memories from the days of that common profession of Housewife are aroused.
    Washing day {Monday} typified the practice.

    Once sheets etc., sailed their drying performance, womenfolk would exchange "news" {gossip} across the garden fences.
    Younger of the relay team would stand, arms bent at elbow with forearms entwined and hands wrapped around opposing elbow crook. Shoulders pulled back {To ease aching spine?} their legs would be firmly spread with feet set hip width apart.
    The matured women seemed to prefer looping arms as cradle for their bosom, often using top of garden fence to stabilise gravitational pull.
  • ruth as in the opposite to ruthless means:

    to have pity or compassion
    sorrow or grief
    self-reproach, contrition, remorse
  • The thought of women standing with their arms furled and their legs akimbo ... ! :)
  • [quote=Jenny]The thought of women ...[/quote]
    ... being soluble, for you all appear insoluble to "mere" male comprehension of incomprehension.

    Should my observation be conceived as inconceivable perhaps it would be best to agree we disagree.

    {With no intent to cause discontent.}
  • Lily, I'd like to thank you for this. I've taken Alan's complete list off his web site and am in time to include a couple in the final edit of my novel. They provide just the right kind of humour.
  • Howard's back yaaaaaaaaay

    Hello Howard. :)
  • Hi Howard. You're most welcome!
  • hey, Howard, how's things???????????????????????????????
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