Word of the Day for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

cockalorum \kok-uh-LAWR-uhm, -LOHR-\, noun:
a self-important little man.
Meantime, let him be foolish! "I suppose he thinks he's the grand high cockalorum!" she told herself, chuckling.
-- Margaret Wade Campbell Deland, The Iron Woman, 1911
His mother was dead and he could write about her: a young woman, a girl, really, with Sid, who was just a child, and Rose, who was even younger, emigrating from an inhospitable Russian countryside with that young cockalorum of a husband--good God, was he that way even then?--to live in this alien land and die before she was fifty.
-- Joseph Heller, Good as Gold, 1979
This mock Latin term is a derivative of cock, meaning "a male chicken." It came to English in the early 1700s.

via dictionary.com word of the day


  [kok-uh-lawr-uhm, -lohr-]  Show IPA
a self-important little man.
1705–15;  mock Latin,  equivalent to cock1  + fanciful -al-  + L genitive plural ending -ōrum
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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[C18: from cock 1  + -alorum,  a variant of Latin genitive plural ending -orum;  perhaps intended tosuggest: the cock of all cocks]