Are you ready for this one? I chose not to include a self-portrait to illustrate this word. I don’t feel particularly facinorous:
\fa-cin-o-rous\, adjective, [Latin expression, facinorous, from facinus deed, bad deed, from facere to make, do.].
1. Atrociously wicked.
2. Being sinister.
3. Being gross.
4. Being grave.
6. Being black (in deed).
7. Rarely used base adjective of the adverb facinorously.
1. Virtually never used adverbial inflection of the rarely used adjective facinorous.
Facinorous was first used in popular English literature sometime before 1828. It was at about that time that atrociously wicked people first came into vogue, I suppose. I can give you but one example of the literary use of “facinorous” that I have found so far – from the writings of G. Walker – whoever s/he is. In 1799 (fills the bill – it is 29 years before 1828!): “When shall … the catachrestical reasonings of facinorous aristocrats be dispanded?” There are two serious problems with that sentence: What in the world do the words catechrestical and dispanded mean? I am quite certain that a truly facinorous word smith came up with them. I suppose that I shall have to add those two words to the growing queue of words to be discussed on future “Wednesday’s Word and Picture” posts.
If any of my oh-so-Gentle and far-from facinorous Readers have a literary example of the use of facinorous, I would be appreciative. For those of you who have never heard of the word until reading this post, rest assured – you are not alone. WordPress hasn’t the vaguest notion that it exists either. Their wonderful spell-checker offered me the following options for words I might have been intending to use: factitious, farinaceous, fallacious, and get this!: clangorous. That last one certainly rang a few bells for me. On what keyboard was the person who came up with that one typing?
Certainly their first three suggestions could fall within the category of “did you mean to type this?” or “maybe this is better?” That would be all well and good if any of their suggested words had anything at all to do with the word I had chosen. But then they threw in a real “ringer!” Clangorous! CLANGOROUS??” What on earth has that to do with the price of tea in China? Or with facinorous for that matter? Hmmm. . .methinks there is some facinorous gremlin working at Ye Olde WordPresse Spell-Checker Factory, luring us into facinorously useless nomenclature and/or verbiage. Zounds!
I will close with today’s picture! Since I could find no example of facinorous in my photo portfolio, I have decided to treat you with some photos of its antonym: sweetly innocent
These are photos I took of our Zoë last night at a spaghetti dinner. She still has some sauce on her face – but it doesn’t obscure the smiles and delight on her face at just being. Yes, I am a doting grandmother – her “Granny,” – but honestly, if you could hear her shout “HI!” at any and every person she sees, you would agree with me: there may be other symbols of innocence that are equally compelling, (I’m certain every parent and grandparent has at least one), but there are none better.
I wish you all, my Gentle Readers, enough. . .
(Words and definitions for my “Wednesday’s Word and Picture” posts are most often found at the following highly-recommended site: Phrontistery )