Sitting here today wondering what to write on the author blog. It’s easy with the photography blog, having a huge library of photos to choose from. I don’t want to become repetitive and keep putting up short stories, and there’s not much news on my books at the moment. Then I thought about words. Some words fascinate me and there are just so many that I don’t ever think of using, and many that I don’t even know the meaning of. They say that most of us have a pretty small vocabulary in fact. Anyway I wondered about doing a word post once in a while – explore the meaning and the sound and maybe the history of a word. Or even just talking about a word I particularly like. As I was thinking about this the word bumptious leaped into my mind, I haven’t a clue why. It’s a word I remember from childhood, a word my mum used to use when referring to a cousin. ‘Sally’s rather bumptious,’ she would say, in a slightly disapproving tone. I didn’t know what it meant but from my mum’s tone I suspected it wasn’t good. So here is the first word out of the jug – a very old jug now, that my mum used for flowers when I was a kid.
Bumptious: presumptuously, obtusely, and often noisily self-assertive : obtrusive, unpleasantly confident, someone who is proud or self-assertive in an obnoxious or irritating way.
Do you know someone like this?
Etymologists (that was a new one on me today as well!) believe that bumptious was probably coined, perhaps playfully, from the noun bump plus -tious. (Think of the obtrusive way an overly assertive person might “bump” through a crowd.) When bumptious was first used around 1800, it meant ‘conceited’.
My mum was born in 1903, and so this word was probably pretty common to her, but language changes and evolves and some words probably never see the light of day any more. I like the word bumptious, it’s got a bouncy sort of sound to it! How many of you are familiar with it, or ever use it?