views updated May 21 2018

INKHORN TERM, also inkhornism, inkpot term. Archaic: an obscure and ostentatious WORD usually derived from Latin or Greek, so called because such words were used more in WRITING than in speech. Thomas Wilson observed in 1553: ‘Among all other lessons this should first be learned, that wee never affect any straunge ynkehorne termes, but to speake as is commonly received … Some seeke so far for outlandish English, that they forget altogether their mothers language (Art of Rhetorique).’ Among his examples of inkhornisms are: revoluting; ingent affabilitie; ingenious capacity; magnifical dexteritie; dominicall superioritie; splendidious. See ARCHAISM, AUREATE DICTION.

inkhorn term

views updated May 11 2018

inkhorn term a word or expression used only in academic writing. An inkhorn was a small portable vessel for holding ink, that was originally made of horn.