Monday, July 9, 2012

Word of the Week - Lowlife

Last week I had the pleasure of going over edits of Ring of Secrets with my awesome editor, and she proved her awesomeness by discovering some words I hadn't thought to look up but which were way too new for my 1780-set book.

One of the most surprising is lowlife. It feels like an old-fashioned word to call somebody, doesn't it? Like it should be from the age when base-born was one of the meanest things you could say about someone. But . . . it's not.

The adjective form, low-life, did indeed enter the English language in 1794, meaning "vulgar, disreputable." (Still too late for my story, mind you...), but it didn't make the transition from adjective to noun until--get this--1911! Aaaagggghhhhhh!

Thanks heavens for an editor who thought to look this one up. She knows this sort of thing is important to me and got to laugh while I went "Aaaaaggghhhhh, really? Really? What in the world can I call him then?" LOL. (Enter "miscreant" and "criminal" for the two places in the book I'd used "lowlife.")

I hope everyone was a great week!

2 comments:

  1. Wow! That's interesting. Lowlife does seem like an old fashioned word...I wonder what other words deceive us! :-)

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  2. That is SO interesting - and yes, surprising. But I LOVE miscreant. What a FANTABULOUS word!

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