Did You Know?
Picture an ancient scribe, pen in hand, a small ink bottle made from an animal's horn strapped to his belt, ready to record the great events of history. In 14th-century England, such ink bottles were dubbed (not surprisingly) inkhorns. During the Renaissance, learned writers often borrowed words from Latin and Greek, eschewing vulgar English alternatives. But in the 16th century, some scholars argued for the use of native terms over Latinate forms, and a lively intellectual debate over the merits of each began. Those who favored English branded what they considered ostentatious Latinisms "inkhorn terms" after the bottles carried by scholars, and since then we have used inkhorn as an adjective for Latinate or pretentious language.
Richard's use of inkhorn terminology in his essay didn't impress his professor, whereas simple language demonstrating a clear understanding of the material would have done the trick.
"Inkhorn terms understandably struck many of their readers as incomprehensible, verbal zombies scarily mixed among—and feeding off—unsuspecting, humble English." — Leslie Dunton-Downer, The English is Coming!, 2010
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of the adjective inkhorn: s _ _ ol _ s _ i _.VIEW THE ANSWER
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