Skulduggery?

There is no better feeling for a writer than the addition of new vocabulary to their mental thesaurus. After reading a follow-up article on the Ford vs. Foulidis case, I came across a word that made my heart leap with joy. Why? Because it was new and I had absolutely no idea what it meant. Yes, I will agree that that is a rather absurd reason to get excited over a word, but to each their own. It was actually one of the terms that Mayor Ford used to describe the Tuggs deal, which is at the heart of their little dispute. Okay, maybe a 6 million dollar lawsuit isn’t exactly ‘little’, but that is not the point I wish to highlight here. It is that word that, for me, is a complete mystery, and I must learn what it means! Oh, I guess it would be best to tell you what the word actually is, wouldn’t it? I’ll do you one better; here is the comment that Ford made, which was recorded in an article by the Calgary Harold:

“These in-camera meetings, there’s more corruption and skulduggery going on in there than I’ve ever seen in my life.”

At first, I was absolutely certain that I had somehow misread the statement. So, I read it again. Nope, that was definitely the term he used. I am sure there are people reading this right now who know exactly this word means, and that my vocabulary is therefore somewhat lacking. To that I say … you are probably right. I was not always this passionate about reading, writing, and words in general, so it took me longer to immerse myself entirely into the realm of infinite linguistic possibilities. That is a tale for yet another time. For now, I am curious to know more about this mysterious word. Let’s start with you basic dictionary definition!

Skul-dug-ger-y

Noun: Underhanded or unscrupulous behavior; trickery.

Synonyms: double-dealing, duplicity, swindling (yet another awesome word), trickery, underhandedness, etc.

This word is much more intriguing than I thought. Most of the stories I have attempted to write, and will most likely continue to attempt in the future, revolve around an evil villain who relies on instrumental rationality (thank you com. theories class) to get what they feel they deserve. This word would be absolutely perfect for describing their behavior! But where on earth, or during what time, did this word originate?

For many words, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where it first became included in the English language, and this one is no different. There are really only some well thought out theories, but I was able to compare a few and found a general commonality between them. From what I can tell, its roots stem from Scotland, in or around the 18th century, and is actually an alteration of the original term “skulduddery“, which had a very different meaning than the word we know today. It was used to describe acts of adultery, or similar acts of indecency, which I suppose are underhanded in their own way, but I don’t think they had the same thing in mind. The word was changed when it was adopted by the US in the 1800’s (again, it’s hard to find exact dates), most commonly connected to politics or political operatives.

Well, I don’t know about all of you, but that helped to satisfy my curiosity for the day. I’m not sure if I am going to make this a daily thing or not, but if I happen to come across  word that leaps from the page and infiltrates the curiosity center of my brain, then I suppose I will have little choice but to succumb to its influence and find out what it means, and sharing the results of my research with all of you.

I will also be sure to keep you posted on the Rob Ford case. In the meantime, here is an article with the latest news:

Mayor Ford Lawsuit Trial

Was the lawsuit politically motivated?

Why was Ford being so defensive about the in-camera meetings?

What does it all boil down to in the end?

Today, new evidence is brought forward into the trial, and hopefully we will soon see the results that will ensue. Until then, keep following, and let me know if you come across any interesting words that are yearning to be shared.

Cheers 🙂

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