I like to think of myself as well read, and I have read a lot of older classic-type novels, which means I know a lot of words. Even words that are no longer in common use.

The other day I was reading a Nancy Drew book to my youngest – The Whispering Statue, which I just learned from that very Wikipedia link was completely rewritten in 1970. It contained this part:

The intruder was taken completely by surprise. It was easy for the three girls to hold him. As he became obstreperous, George used a judo trick which buckled the man’s knees and he fell.

Obstreperous is a word I have never heard before. I just could not get over the fact that a Nancy Drew book contained a word that was completely foreign to me.

Plus, it means “loud and difficult to control,” which if you have kids like mine, means this word should be in DAILY USE. “Knock it off, you’re becoming obstreperous.” “I’ve had it with your obstreperous fooling around, I’m turning this car around!” “Hey! Try and be a little less obstreperous, I’m trying to watch Jeopardy!”

Am I right or am I right?

So – officially kicking off the campaign to bring back obstreperous. It deserves to live.


3 thoughts on “Obstreperous

  1. Maybe it says something about my own childhood that obstreperous is a familiar word. I have most often seen it used in confrontational contexts, so, let’s just say, there was never a dull moment back then.

  2. mdavis94538

    I’ve heard the word before, probably couldn’t have told you exactly what it meant though.

    More interesting to me than that, though, is that TIL many (most?) Nancy Drew (and, as it turns out, Hardy Boys) books were rewritten during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Of course there are WP articles on each and every book (how awesome is that?); the articles on the Nancy Drew books actually go into more detail on the rewrites, which is pretty fascinating. I wonder which ones I read?

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