Word of the Week (205): BACCARE (probability 27600), by David Sutton

BACCARE (or BACKARE) is a Shakespearean word meaning 'Stand back!'. It is one of the many archaic interjections that we have now lost. Nobody, I think, expresses affirmation by PERFAY any more, which means 'By my faith!', or with PERDY (variants PARDI, PARDIE, PARDY, PARDEE or PERDIE) which means 'By God!'. Nobody expresses sorrow by saying LACKADAY, LACKADAISY, WELAWAY, WELLADAY, WELLADAYS, WELLAWAY or WELLAWAYS, or requests silence by saying CEAS, CAESE, SESE, SESEY or SESSA, or remonstrates with SITHEE or FORSOOTH, or entreats by PRITHEE or PRYTHEE, or expresses surprise with GADZOOKS, GADSO or GODSO, or consternation with CRIMINE, CRIMINI or CRIMINY, or derision with POWWAW, or even utters the mild oaths UDS, OONS, SONTIES, ZOUNDS, ECOD, EGAD (or EGADS) or IGAD.

I am not sure whether certain old Scots interjections linger on north of the border or whether there too they now belong only to literature. I have listened carefully to Scotsmen of my acquaintance, but disappointingly I have never actually heard any of them say WAESUCKS, CRIVENS (or CRIVVENS), WISHT, LOSH, HAITH, EWHOW or the splendid TROGGS. And do they still call their cattle home in the evening with PROO or PRUH? I have always thought that did not sound like a very impressive call, unlike SOOEY, which is allegedly used to call pigs home and can clearly be drawn out in an appropriate manner. Though readers of P.G.Wodehouse will remember that the Empress of Blandings responded best to a call of 'PIG HOOEY'; however, as far as Scrabble is concerned, HOOEY is a noun meaning nonsense.


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