Word of the Day: Cockalorum

Now, how can you not giggle, just a bit, when, working on your first cup of coffee, you sit down to read email, and that is the subject line of the very first message in your inbox?

Yeah, I know. You can’t.

Usually, the Words of the Day are either things I already know, or they’re such bizarre and obscure words (many of which I already know) as to be completely useless to any semi-normal writer. Wait, that implies there are semi-normal writers. Hmmm… Nevermind. Scratch that! Ain’t no such critter.

Anyway, there sat this little gem: cockalorum.

For those of you who are wondering what, exactly, a cockalorum is, rest assured, it’s nothing dirty. Despite the potential for adolescent humor, it’s not some strange sex act, a rare and exotic disease of the penis, or a mythical talking phallus.

Nope, far more mundane than any of those. Are you ready? You want to know, I can tell. You’re waiting for this.

cockalorum \kah-kuh-LOR-um\ (noun) – 1 : A boastful and self-important person; 2 : boastful talk

“Now, did he survive, and succeed, he’d be puffed full of relief and joy, and breakfast would be a nigh-hysterically blissful explosion of high-cockalorum.” — Dewey Lambdin, ‘Havoc’s Sword’

From the obsolete Flemish word “kockeloeren,” meaning “to crow.” It dates back to 1715 when it was used to describe the Marquis of Huntly-son of the Duke of Gordon, a Celtic Highlander chief who was himself known as the “Cock of the North.” The image of a rooster (a.k.a. cock) strutting confidently across the barnyard has given us “crow” (“to brag”), “cock” (“a self-important person”), and “cocky” (“overconfident”).

OK, stop the giggles and titters. You’ve all heard terms like “cock of the walk” and heard a “cock and bull” story or two I’m sure. It’s just that our ah, modern sensibilities have come to associate the word “cock” not with a rooster or boastful person, but with a certain body part, about which many men are, in fact likely to boast. Hmmmm, I wonder if that…


Sorry, I digress.

So, extract your mind from the gutter, or sewer if it has slipped that far.

The part that I’m having fun with is this:

The idea of a Word of the Day is to expand the vocabulary, presumably, the useful vocabulary. However, I cannot, for the life of me, imagine working this charming little word into the vernacular.

“Yeah, ignore him. He’s just full of cockalorum after he took first place in that last match.”

“He’s a real cockalorum, alright. Thinks he’s all that.”

ummm… How about… no!