Word of the Day : January 31, 2019

raddled

play
adjective RAD-uld

What It Means

1 : being in a state of confusion : lacking composure

2 : broken-down, worn

Examples

We were met at the door by a raddled old man who turned out to be the actor's father, and who in his day had also been an estimable presence on the London stage.

"The real skill of Swan Song is the kaleidoscopic portrait it paints of its raddled hero. The narrative moves through time from Capote's tawdry childhood and friendship with Harper Lee to his withered end in Fu Manchu pyjamas." — Alex Preston, The Observer (London), 22 July 2018


Did You Know?

The origin of raddled is unclear. Its participial form suggests verbal parentage, and indeed there is a verb raddle just a few decades older than raddled that seems a likely source. This raddle means "to mark or paint with raddle," raddle here being red ocher, or sometimes other pigments, used for marking animals. Raddle eventually came to mean "to color highly with rouge," the metaphor connecting the raddling of animal husbandry with immoderate makeup application: to be raddled thusly was not a compliment. The "confused" sense of raddled is often associated with the influence of alcohol or drugs. That connection is in keeping with the word's earliest known use, from a 1694 translation of French writer Francois Rabelais: "A … fellow, continually raddled, and as drunk as a wheelbarrow."



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete the name for a dealer in red ocher: ru _ _ lem _ _.

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