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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:55 pm

• antic •

Pronunciation: æn-tik • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. (Adjective; archaic) Grotesque, bizarre, ludicrously odd. 2. (Noun) A whimsical or foolish act, silly action, prank, monkeyshine, shenanigan.

Notes: Today's Good Word is seldom heard in the singular, so seldom that the online Oxford Living Dictionaries only list it in the plural. It is a lexical orphan that may be used as a verb meaning "to perform antics". If you use it as a verb, remember to add a K before any suffix: anticked, anticking.

In Play: This word almost never appears in the singular: "Hank Epanki's antics at the party led Forsythia to leave without him." However, it does have a singular: "Tom Foolery's placing a tack in Susan's office chair was an antic he would live to regret."

Word History: Today's Good Word was spelled variously as antick, antyke, antique in Old English, when it meant "grotesque or comical gesture". It was apparently borrowed from Italian antico "antique", the French version of which English borrowed as antique. The Italian word antico was used to describe grotesque designs on some ancient Roman artifacts and murals, hence the sense of bizarreness that was later extended to "any bizarre thing or behavior", the sense in which English borrowed antico. Both Italian and French inherited their words from Latin antiquus "old, former, ancient". The Latin word was based on the PIE word ant- "front, forehead" that went on to mean "before" in inherited words: ante, the bet in poker before the draw, comes from Latin ante "before". English uses it as a prefix in words like antecedent, antebellum, and antepenultimate. (It's time to thank our old friend Iain Smallwood for suggesting today's fascinating Good Word.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

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Re: Antic

Postby call_copse » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:54 am

Nice,thanks Doc. I hadn't considered the singular.

George Kovac
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Re: Antic

Postby George Kovac » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:20 am

Antics and hijinks (or high jinks) are synonyms. Sort of. Both words share the characteristic of being allergic to the singular form. While antic is a plausible construction (e.g., "'An antic like that will get you expelled next time,' the principal warned the student.") I find it impossible imagine someone referring to a single hijink.
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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