Mammothrept and Other Words That Describe People

a gouty man at table with a bon viveur drinking champagne, wikimedia commons

What words do you use to describe your character’s habits or traits? Does your character enjoy good food, drink, and other luxuries? Or maybe your character is a mean, sneaking coward. Even though your character is an adult, does he act like a spoiled brat?

A bon viveur is a person who lives high and well. It is a person who enjoys good food, drink, luxuries, etc. A person like this could also be called a man-about-town or a woman-about-town.

A dastard is a mean, sneaking coward. Now, the dastard could somehow always succeed in his sneakiness, but he (she) might also need to get used to failure like Dastardly Dan of cartoon fame.

To me, the word doughty looks like it would have something to do with bread or desserts. After all, “dough” is part of this word. But, no, that isn’t even close to this word’s meaning. Someone who is doughty is brave, courageous, and determined.

A drama queen is a person who often has exaggerated or overly emotional reactions to events or situations.

Illiterati, illiterate or ignorant people, is the blend of two words: illiterate and literati. Illiterate means unable to read or write while literati are intellectuals, persons of scholarly or literary attainments.

 A mammothrept is a spoiled child or an immature adult. This word came to life during the sixteenth century when its only meaning was a spoiled child. Maybe back then everyone actually grew up. Don’t you think that it is time this word made a comeback? I’m just taking a wild guess, but I’m betting that there are just as many if not more mammothrepts alive and well today as there was in the sixteenth century.

Yes, a pachyderm is an elephant, but this word isn’t about calling someone an elephant. But when we are using this word to describe a person, they have thick, tough skin just as an elephant does. Criticism, mean words, ridicule, etc. will not cut through that skin to faze a pachyderm.

rhapsode, wikimedia commons

A revenant is someone who returns after a long absence or supposed death. And, yes, a revenant is also a ghost, but we’re just talking about the first definition right now.

In Tom Sawyer, the boy faked his own death only to later return. He was in big trouble, but I believe he could be considered a revenant.

A rhapsode is one who recites or performs the poetry of a poet for an audience. Not a writer of poetry, a rhapsode is a professional reciter of poems.

Samfie comes to us from Jamaica. It is a confidence trickster, especially one who pretends to have supernatural powers.

Writing Exercise:
Go back over each of the descriptive words mentioned above—bon viveur, dastard, doughty, drama queen, illiterati, mammothrept, pachyderm, revenant, rhapsode, samfie—and create a character for each one of them.

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