Printable Version
Pronunciation: dor-sahl-lê-kwi Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Talking behind someone's back.

Notes: Now we have a word to replace that long phrase in today's Meaning. Someone who talks behind the back of others is a dorsaloquist. We also have another word for "rumor mill", dorsaloquium [dor-sê-low-kwi-êm], when everyone is talking behind everyone else's back. A person who talks behind people's back is a dorsaloquist. This word opens new doors for a host of derivations about talking, e.g. hypercranialoquy [hai-pêr-kre-ni-ah-lê-ji] "talking over someone's head".

In Play: How many times have you said, "I want no part of talking behind other people's backs", and wished for a shorter way of expressing it. Well, now we have one: "I want no part of dorsaloquy." How often have you wished for a shorter way to say, "She's a person who talks behind other people's back." Now we have a much simpler way of saying it: "I'm no dorsaloquist myself, but Myna Bird is one in spades!"

Word History: Today's Good Word is a Latin borrowing composed of dorsalis "pertaining to the back" + loqui "to speak". Dorsalis is the adjective for dorsum "back". The history of dorsum died with the passing of the last Roman, but we know quite a bit about loqui. It comes from a metathesized form of the Proto-Indo-European word for "speak", tolkw-. In Russian it popped up as tolkovat' "interpret" and in Lithuanian as tùlkas "translator, interpreter". (Let's all thank Miss April Phule for these totally made-up Good Words. We should also show gratitude to Perry Dror and Gail Rallen for remembering that April 1 is April Fool's Day in the US.)

Dr. Goodword,

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