This week, in the aftermath of NaNoWriMo 2013, I’m taking it easy. Which put me in mind of a word I jotted down to investigate a while ago.
Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary tells us that lusk means idle or worthless. It caught my eye because the town of Lusk, North Dublin isn’t a million miles from my home. I couldn’t help wondering if its past inhabitants had been such sloths as to spawn a new English word.
Merriam Webster adds that luskish is to be sluggish or somewhat lazy and that its obscure origins lie in the Middle English verb lusken meaning to lie hidden. It sounded very Germanic/Scandinavian to my ears and sure enough it comes from Danish origins and means to slink about and is related to a favourite verb of mine to lurk.
I like the notion of luskers lurking under their blankets, hiding from activity. I might need a little of that this week while my brain recovers from NaNo fever.
As for the good people of Lusk, they are off the hook. The town’s name comes not from Danish, or Middle English but is an English corruption of the original Irish name. The word lusca (pronounced loo-ska) means cave and refers to the cave dwelling of their founding Saint MacCullin c. 450.
Until next time, happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,
p.s. I made it to 62,251 words by November 30th – nine chapters still to write, so I can’t lusk for long.