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A.Word.A.Day--clepe

Pronunciation RealAudio

clepe (kleep) verb tr., past participle cleped/clept or ycleped/yclept (i-KLEPT)

To call or name.

[From Middle English clepen, from Old English cleopican, from clipian (to speak or call).

"Now, you could work that into conversation if you wanted to force the issue. `Sir, do not dare you clepe me in such a fashion or I shall be compelled to thrash you with a puncheon or clevis, whichever being the most geographically convenient!'" Mike Kelley, Writer: If You Don't Know What Clevis Means, The Austin American Statesman, Apr 22, 1991.

"The movie is `The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.' The time: the 15th century. Jovovich is Joan, the self-yclept `Maiden of Lorraine,' a peasant girl who has heard God's call to save France from the English." Desson Howe, Shoot `The Messenger', The Washington Post, Nov 12, 1999.

Archaisms are grizzled old words that have continued to do their job despite their age even though they don't go around as much as they used to. They are old-fashioned but serviceable and that's the reason they are still making the rounds, as you can see in this week's examples. They serve a purpose, to give an aura of an earlier period, and evoke a sense of historical setting, in novels, religious writing, poetry, ads, and so on. What's old for one is young for another, so there's no consensus on what words are archaic, but this week we'll feature some of them. -Anu

X-Bonus

Everybody's talking about people breaking into houses but there are more people in the world who want to break out of houses. -Thornton Wilder, writer (1897-1975)

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