Sunday, 20 June 2021

for the nonce: nubivagant

This rare, obsolete adjective, used first in 1656 from the Latin for clouds, nubes, plus the vagant, vagus for wandering describes something emerging from the clouds or moving through the sky. Though not among the shameful paucity of subsequent citations of the word—only three lexical occurrences since the mid-seventeenth century, it does evoke William Wordsworth’s 1804 sentiment for all of us with our heads in the clouds and not fully grounded: 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.