Posted by R. Berg on January 21, 2001
In Reply to: Frones & brickles posted by ESC on January 20, 2001
: : : : : The archived discussion contains an unanswered year-old query about "accafortis," a so-called family word. This sounds like a corruption of "aqua fortis" (Latin: "strong water"), which means nitric acid.
: : : : Thanks!
: : : I saw this word in a book (see entry below) and it "rang a bell." I recalled that during my West Virginia childhood I'd heard someone say, "This coffee is strong as accafortis."
: : : STRONG AS ACCAFORTIS - "Anything that is especially strong in flavor, taste, or muscular ability is 'stronger than accafortis' in the family of Kenneth P. Weinkauf of Athens, Ohio. Nobody in the family knows what it means." From "Family Words: The Dictionary for People Who Don't Know a Frone from a Brinkle" by Paul Dickson (Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1988).
: : So... what's a frone, and what's a brinkle?
: FRONE -- Particles that stick to plates. Applied in the sentence, "The dishes are clean except for a few frones."
: BRICKLES --- The marks on your face from the sheets, couch, or whatever when you wake up. See also Revlacormia. Temporary red marks on skin that come from sitting on deck-chair webbing, lying on wrinkled sheets, and so on...
: Again, these are "family words," words and phrases that are part of an individual family's language. Some are "made up." Some are a baby's attempt at a word. Others are the result of a private family joke. Or, as in the case of accafortis, some are actually archaic words.
I've long felt the need for an adjective to apply to silverware that can go back in the drawer after dinner, without washing, because it wasn't used. "Clean" is too vague. Example: [while squinting at table knife] "Did you cut anything, or is this [ummph]?" Maybe "froneless" is the answer.