Printable Version
Pronunciation: gahd-wah-dêr-ee Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (No plural)

Meaning: 1. A highly romantic, exaggeratedly elaborate garden, usually composed of bizarrely incompatible plants and objects. 2. A love or affection for such gardens. 3. Affected, archaic language.

Notes: This word is a sort of marginal piece of verbal godwottery itself. It comes as no surprise that such an eccentric word has no direct relations, not even a plural. It is a fish out of the current conversational water so, if we don't return it to its natural habitat, it will soon no longer be with us.

In Play: You are always safe using this word in reference to gardens: "Rose Bush's backyard is a godwottery of every kind of plant crawling over gnomes, flamingos, gates without fences, and several sets of garden furniture." As for language, I still consider it wise to add a qualifier to make the reference to language clear: "Noah Zarq speaks in such verbal godwottery only a Shakespearean scholar could understand him."

Word History: This funny word originated as a phrase from the line, ?A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!' in T. E. Brown's poem My Garden (1876). Wot is a variant of the verb wit, from Old English witan "to know", so the phrase originally meant "God knows", which obviously has nothing to do with gardening. Both our words wit and wisdom are derivations from the Old English verb. It is a cousin to German wissen "know", and distantly related to Polish wiedziec "to know" and Russian vesti "news".

Dr. Goodword,

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