Scorbutic Countenance

The word scorbutic cannot mean anything good–its very sound has a nasty quality, as if it might be related to splenetic, scrofula, excoriate and other abrasive words. We don’t hear this word much because it means “relating to scurvy,” that is, relating to the disease scurvy–hence a relation to the word “ascorbic.”

Thanks goodness we no longer go on sea voyages for months without any vitamin C aboard, such that scurvy afflicts us.

I came across the term in reference to one of the Prince of Wales advisers, a fellow described as unattractive, having a “scorbutic face.” I dearly hope I don’t have occasion to use this term, and will keep serving my characters oranges at breakfast in pursuit of that goal.

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One comment on “Scorbutic Countenance

  1. I once came across the term “verbal diarrhoea” and found it great. Nothing to do with faces but illnesses as discriptions. I like using it when someone really gets on my nerves talking nonsense…