• Paul Anthony Jones

Philarchaist

(n.) someone who prefers older versions of things to their modern equivalents



HH tweeted the word philarchaist on Friday—defined as “someone who prefers older versions of things to their modern equivalents”.

Philarchaist is a word we owe to the seventeenth century Scottish writer and translator Sir Thomas Urquhart, who introduced it in his 1652 work The Jewel, or “Ekskybalauron”. It’s very much Urquhart’s word: the Oxford English Dictionary have no other independent record of its use outside of his writings (making it a hapax legomenon, no less).

The phil– of philarchaist comes from the Greek philos, meaning “lover”, “beloved” or “friendship”, which will be familiar to English speakers from words like philosophy (literally “a lover of learning”), anglophile (a lover of all things English) and oenophile (a wine connoisseur). At the opposite end of the word, the “arch” of philarchaist comes from the Greek arkhaios, meaning “ancient” or “primal”.

Put together, that makes a philarchaist literally a lover of all things ancient. Which may or may not include blue passports.

#history #Britishhistory #Greek

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