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#1
Old 10-12-2003, 11:43 AM
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Is the neologism "trepidacious" now a real word? Why wasn't it before?

My girlfriend and I just heard John Goodman use the word "trepidacious" on James Lipton's show. Yet I remember a stern seventh-grade English teacher telling me, "trepidacious is not a word," for reasons never explained.

Well, it's beginning to look as if the maligned word has made its way into the American lexicon, at least, as both my girlfriend and John Goodman use it, despite my tender admonitions. What rule of English does the word break which prevents it from being accepted? And is my girlfriend really vinicated, or is she still just sporting a Rolls Royce on blocks in her verbal front lawn?
#2
Old 10-12-2003, 12:06 PM
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Trepidacious is not a word, it's a faulty conjugation of trepidation. However, ain't isn't a word either but despite the preachings of mothers and English teachers everywhere it is in the dictionary. I guess if a piece of broken English is said long enough it weasels it's way into the lexicon. I don't think 'trepidacious' applies quit yet though.
#3
Old 10-12-2003, 12:11 PM
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Why do you think ain't isn't a word? Or do you just mean it's only informal, like groovy?
#4
Old 10-12-2003, 12:16 PM
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What is the correct adjective form of trepidation, then?
#5
Old 10-12-2003, 12:19 PM
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Trepidosity? Trepidationalisitic? Trepidationary?
#6
Old 10-12-2003, 12:20 PM
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"With trepidation". It's two words, but it's shorter than a couple of Q.E.D.'s ideas.
#7
Old 10-12-2003, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achernar
"With trepidation". It's two words, but it's shorter than a couple of Q.E.D.'s ideas.
I knew that. I was being silly.
#8
Old 10-12-2003, 12:53 PM
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http://home.mn.rr.com/wwftd/rst.htm#trepidacious

wwftd = worthless word for the day

I thought this would be interesting to share.
#9
Old 10-12-2003, 12:58 PM
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Regarding words entering into the dictionary, I was told by an english professor many years ago that a dictionary is not a rule book. It's purpose was to reflect the common usage of words at a particular point in time. "Ain't" is not a proper contraction, but its common usage has caused its entry into modern dictionaries.
#10
Old 10-12-2003, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Speaker for the Dead
What is the correct adjective form of trepidation, then?
Trepid is the adjective whose nominalized form is trepidation. It is less common than its antonym intrepid. But still a perfectly serviceable word. It means the same thing as the back-formation trepidatious, and gets there with two fewer syllables.
#11
Old 10-12-2003, 01:51 PM
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I just followed Setherghd's link and see that it reaches the same conclusion.
#12
Old 10-12-2003, 02:00 PM
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hello; I am the wwftd webmaster, and this is what I wrote when trepidacious was the worthless word for the day:

the worthless word for the day is: trepidacious

fearful; agitated; trembling: trepid

this neologism has yet to be recognized by
lexicographers; in fact it is on the Vocabula
Review's Worst Words list -- but it gets a few
hundred Google« hits, and lots of folks attempt to
look it up at OneLook«.

I'd say, if you need something that means not intrepid,
and can't bear fearful, why not go back to the root?
trepid is a far better choice in many ways.

---

through an arrangement with the folks at OneLook, the
word can now be found there, complete with disclaimer!
#13
Old 10-12-2003, 08:34 PM
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tsuwm, I read your column on this today, but for some reason I failed to understand that there is a quite viable alternative word.

If I follow your line of thought, trepidacious is actually a word closely akin to "re-orientate," which is supposed to be "reorient." Am I on the right track?

And thank you, thank you very much for your contribution. Why don't you stick around awhile?
#14
Old 10-12-2003, 09:40 PM
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>reorientate "is supposed to be" reorient

This sort of statement falls on fallow ground, unless it's being farmed by prescriptivists. John Goodman is probably just another linguistic dotterel trying to be clever; or he may have known exactly what he was saying. There's just no knowing anymore, and we have Humpty Dumpty to thank for it all.

All's I can say is that my personal preference, in this instance, would be trepid.

BTW, orientate is very much a transpondian preference -- they do like to add those extra letters and syllables over there (and then forget to pronounce them on occasion ; ).
#15
Old 10-12-2003, 10:52 PM
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...the who what and the what now?
#16
Old 02-25-2013, 10:55 AM
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Trepidacious

Trepidacious is featured in dictionary.com as a word
#17
Old 02-25-2013, 11:20 AM
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Spelling: Trepidatious. First attested 1904. It wasn't in my 1990 M-W, but has apparently swayed the editors since then. Looks like they haven't bought of on spelling it with a "c." Yet.

(Yeah, it's an old thread. So what?)

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 02-25-2013 at 11:22 AM.
#18
Old 02-25-2013, 11:52 AM
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Sanitation has been a real word since the mid-1800s.

Sanitize, however, did not exist until the mid 20th century by ad executives for tv commercials regarding cleaning products.

If a word follows the rules of grammar and clearly conveys the correct idea, the word is valid.
#19
Old 02-25-2013, 12:03 PM
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Well, then OP's girlfriend is vinicated.
#20
Old 02-25-2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianmelendez View Post
Trepid is the adjective whose nominalized form is trepidation. It is less common than its antonym intrepid. But still a perfectly serviceable word. It means the same thing as the back-formation trepidatious, and gets there with two fewer syllables.
There was once a facetious group called the Society for the Restoration of Lost Positives, which encouraged the use of words like "couth", "kempt", "shevelled", and my favorite, "gruntled".
#21
Old 02-25-2013, 12:22 PM
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Never be too quick to imagine a word is a neologism.

From OED:

Quote:
trepidatious, adj.

Apprehensive, nervous; filled with trepidation

1904 B. Mitford Sirdar's Oath xxvi. 301 Hilda looked up from the papers she had been busy with as he entered—in fact, made a guilty and trepidatious attempt at sweeping them out of sight.

Last edited by aldiboronti; 02-25-2013 at 12:22 PM.
#22
Old 02-25-2013, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob X View Post
There was once a facetious group called the Society for the Restoration of Lost Positives, which encouraged the use of words like "couth", "kempt", "shevelled", and my favorite, "gruntled".
They would have loved Tripod's song Kempt: http://youtube.com/watch?v=IngvNUaWvck
#23
Old 02-25-2013, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob X View Post
There was once a facetious group called the Society for the Restoration of Lost Positives, which encouraged the use of words like "couth", "kempt", "shevelled", and my favorite, "gruntled".
That doesn't seem to have gone anywhere. Probably not enough time for them to get the word out between harrumphs and sips of milky tea.
#24
Old 02-25-2013, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob X View Post
There was once a facetious group called the Society for the Restoration of Lost Positives, which encouraged the use of words like. . . "gruntled".
Not a lost positive. The "dis-" is an intensifier in this case, meaning 'extremely gruntled.'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Well, then OP's girlfriend is vinicated.
Maybe someone should pm him. He hasn't checked in in nine years.

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 02-25-2013 at 12:31 PM.
#25
Old 02-25-2013, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Setherghd View Post
http://home.mn.rr.com/wwftd/rst.htm#trepidacious

wwftd = worthless word for the day

I thought this would be interesting to share.
I trepidly clicked on this ten-year-old link, but alas, it no longer worked.

I am gruntled...
#26
Old 09-15-2016, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsuwm View Post
>reorientate "is supposed to be" reorient

BTW, orientate is very much a transpondian preference -- they do like to add those extra letters and syllables over there (and then forget to pronounce them on occasion ; ).
I found myself wanting to use trepidacious in an email and this led to googling if it was actually a word and hence how I landed on this page.

It is many years after these posts were made but I found great irony in the use of the word 'transpondian' in a post supporting why trepidacious is a worthless word...hahaha
#27
Old 09-15-2016, 06:21 AM
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Among literate English-speaking people, it is generally recognized that inclusion in a published dictionary constitutes a word being a "real word". When "trepidacious' gets into dictionaries, it technically crosses the line from not being a real work, to being one.

English is not subject to any "law" of usage, so by default, dictionary publishers have been assigned this task.

However, English is also recognized as a rather flexible language, and according to context and intended audience, it is quite acceptable for an ad-hoc crossing of the line by a speaker who feels that a non-real word best elucidates his intent.

Last edited by jtur88; 09-15-2016 at 06:22 AM.
#28
Old 09-15-2016, 07:11 AM
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It has now passed the cromulency test.
#29
Old 09-15-2016, 10:44 AM
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I assume all word-oriented Dopers have etymonline.com bookmarked.

trepidacious


Quote:
trepidation (n.)
Related: Trepidacious (1915).
After a century, it's a bit too gray-haired to still be a neologism.

And this is another reminder to everyone: Never cite what a schoolteacher told you about the English language. Their record here is a big fat zero.
#30
Old 09-15-2016, 08:44 PM
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[QUOTE=jtur88;19629752]Among literate English-speaking people, it is generally recognized that inclusion in a published dictionary constitutes a word being a "real word". When "trepidacious' gets into dictionaries, it technically crosses the line from not being a real work, to being one.]/QUOTE]
"Literate English-speaking people" might think that, but nit-picking dopers would disagree. A word isn't a real word because it's in a dictionary. Rather, it's in a dictionary because it's a real world - i.e. a word that English speakers use with sufficient frequency that it requires a definition, and with sufficient consistency that it can be defined.

Putting a word in a dictionary doesn't make it a real word. Rather, it shows that it has become a real word at some point, or over some period, before the dictionary was compiled.

Last edited by UDS; 09-15-2016 at 08:45 PM.
#31
Old 09-16-2016, 12:24 AM
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What about Leo Bloom's inadvertent neologism of three years ago -- vinicated? I propose we define it as "(self-)medicated by imbibing wine."

As in, "I was feeling pretty crappy until I vinicated with half a bottle of cheap merlot."
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