Alimentary Lexicon

Noun. Prodigal expense for food and/or drink. This one is a bit of a tongue twister–appropriately, since it comes in part from the Latin term for licking (lingere). Lingurire means to be dainty about the business of eating;ab, naturally, suggests the opposite of that!

Noun. Provisions purchased for a house, or the room where such provisions were kept. It comes from an old French term for a place to buy provisions–achaterie–so it may not surprise you to note that this term was most often used to describe the provisions or pantry for an English royal household.

Noun. A person responsible for maturing cheese in a cellar, climate-controlled room, etc. Cf. affinage. As opposed to a fromager, who makes the cheese.

Adjective. Of or relating to plants of the genus Allium (allium n.), which includes garlic, onions, leeks, etc.

Noun (obsolete).  Discarded fragments of food, esp. those gathered after a meal; morsels, scraps, crumbs.
Latin analecta referred to a slave who picked up crumbs after a meal; the Latin was derived from an older Greek term for gleaning. Now the English term is used more often, if ever, to refer to a collection of literary extracts or gleanings.

Adjective. Having an inactive brain, thought to be from eating too much beef.

Noun. We may now think of this word as a singular noun and archaic synonym for “villain,” but it was originally a collective noun referring to a group of attendants or servants who were dressed in black. It also came into use for a few centuries as an unflattering collective noun referring to kitchen scullions and servants who might appear black from carrying coal or working near soot.

Adjective. Having the qualities of butter; resembling butter; also, yielding or containing a substance like butter.

Noun. Stuff fit for a cat to lap; contemptuously applied to tea or other weak drink.

Adjective. Having a bill shaped like a knife or adapted for cutting; esp. relating to a group of birds so characterized, as (originally) herons, storks, and cranes among the wading birds, or (in later use) crows, starlings, and others among the passerines.

Adjective. A rare word describing a knife-swallower or sword-swallower.

Noun. A fear of dinner parties.

Noun. A 16th/17th century synonym for gourmand.

Noun or adjective. Something edible, especially a vegetable.
“The remainder of the garden presented a well-selected assortment of esculent  vegetables, in a praiseworthy state of advancement.”– Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables. Supposedly this word comes from a Latin word for food, esca.

Verb. 16th century and obsolete word for devouring or eating greedily. Often used in scenes of uncanny or horrifying eating, such as devouring human flesh or garbage.

Noun. Literally, a hash of various kinds of meats; figuratively, a ridiculous medley. probably from a combination of Old French galer (to have fun, to enjoy oneself) and Old Northern French mafrer (eat gluttonously).

Adjective. Pertaining to breakfast.

Verb. To pour out (a liquid) with an unsteady hand: as, he jirbles out a dram

Mallemaroking (also mallemuching or mallemaroking)
Noun. The boisterous and drunken exchange of hospitality between sailors in extreme northern waters. Although examples of the word pertain almost exclusively to sailors carousing, the etymology of the word comes from the Dutch for a foolish woman.

Verb. To thrash; to crush or destroy. Figuratively: to defeat decisively. Thought to derive from marmalade.

Noun. A drink taken in the afternoon; a light refreshment between meals; a snack. Like luncheon, it was at one time totally sensical to shorten it to “nunch.”

Adjective. Of the nature of a pot-herb; obtained from a pot-herb. See also Olitory.

Adjective, of or relating to culinary herbs or kitchen vegetables. Or noun, a kitchen garden or herb garden.
These words were in use from about the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, and derive from the classical Latin word for gardener (olitōrius).

Noun, also spelled oly-cook. A small round ball of sweet fried dough, not unlike a doughnut hole. The word is Dutch, but it pops up not infrequently in 19th century New England literature.

Noun. Sour milk. This one makes more sense if you think of oxidize and galactic acid.

Noun. A human being or animal that devours things (esp. food) of all kinds; an omnivore.

Adjective. Resembling a leek, especially in leek-green color. This was often used in unflattering descriptions of bile, vomiting, and tumors in early modern British medical literature.

Noun. An artistic, literary, or other creative work produced solely to make the originator a living by catering to popular taste, without regard to artistic quality; esp. such a work produced by an artist, writer, etc., of otherwise recognized merit.

Verb. To taste or to sample; occasionally, to kiss. The term appears in Scottish and Irish dialect from at least the sixteenth century to the present day. Also written as prie.

Verb. To mumble words and phrases in the manner of actors in a crowd scene.
Sometimes, this literally means that people onstage are repeating “rhubarb rhubarb rhubard” over and over, because the noise and lip flap looks and sounds like indistinct background noise. The word rhubarb is also used as a noun to refer to the noice produced in the matter, or figuratively to refer to something that you don’t understand. e.g. I rhubarbed my way through the hymn since I didn’t have a hymnal in my pew. The service is in Latin so it’s all rhubarb to me anyhow.

Noun. The influence of rural society on urban life, or vice versa; rural urbanization.

Adjective. Healthy, active, full of life.
From the Latin vegetus, meaning vigorous or invigorating. Our word vegetable, of course, stems from the same root. (Ha!)

2 responses to “Alimentary Lexicon

  1. Pingback: Elsewhere on the Internet: Gallimaufry | Scribal Tattoo·

  2. Pingback: Food Links, 29.04.2015 | Tangerine and Cinnamon·

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