Friday, July 31, 2009

AWAD (A Word A Day)--cacography

cacography

PRONUNCIATION:
(kuh-KOG-ruh-fee)

MEANING:
noun:
1. Bad handwriting.
2. Incorrect spelling.

ETYMOLOGY:
From caco- (bad), from Greek kakos (bad) + -graphy (writing). Caco is ultimately from the Indo-European root kakka-/kaka- (to defecate) which also gave us poppycock, cacophony, and cucking stool. Opposites of today's word are calligraphy (beautiful handwriting) and orthography (correct spelling). A related word is cacology.

USAGE:
"Before I could think of quitting, my boss enlightened me on the virtues of my handwriting, which was sheer cacography: 'Your writing is in direct competition with the Harappan script that still had the hope of being deciphered in the distant future.'"
Vikram Kumar; Positions Very Vacant; The Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India); Apr 15, 2008.

The emails of a former sub-Dean could only be described as cacography.

2 comments:

Rev Dr Mom said...

LOL! (about the subdean, esp. if it's the one I'm thinking of!)

That is a GREAT word!

Jules said...

but an email by its nature cannot be cacography. It's keyboarded, not inscribed. and surely it's spellchecked????