Printable Version
Pronunciation: ik--bahd Hear it!

Part of Speech: Interjection

Meaning: Although we think of this word more often as the name of Ichabod Crane in Washington Irving's story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, today's word may also serve as an interjection of great dismay and regret, as in "Ichabod! Look what I've stepped in!" Hence, it is the perfect name for Ichabod Crane.

Notes: Bogue and Bennett mentioned in their History of Dissenters (1833) that orthodox dissenters would frequently inscribe, "Ichabod, the glory is departed," in their writings to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. Oh, no!There is an adjective from the noun, ichabodian "regretful, lamentable", which implies an adverb ichabodianly. Be careful of the spelling of the [k] sound in this word; the digraph CH is used in English to represent the gutteral [kh] pronunciation in Hebrew and Greek.

In Play: I can hear this word rippling along the doglegs of the golf course: "Ichabod! My ball hit someone in the head—I'm going to bogey this hole!" Off the green in prison green, we might hear someone mutter, "Ichabod! I wish I had used the paper shredder more often!" As for the adjective from this interjection, we might say that the movie Mystic River is an Ichabodian film of conflicting affections gone awry.

Word History: Today's word is the Hebrew word i-khabhodh "inglorious, the glory has departed". It is also the name given to the son of Phineas, the grandson of Eli. Phineas's son was born in the wake of the Israelites' defeat by the Philistines at Aphek. It was in this battle that Phineas and Eli were slain and the Ark of the Covenant captured by the Philistines. Ichabod (Ikhabhodh) was named by his mother on her deathbed to mark the infamy of that battle and, no doubt, her own personal feelings.

Dr. Goodword,

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