Welcome to another installment of SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.
But why all these new words?
Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, like the ones you’re sure to hear at Democrats After Dark, a “social mixer designed just for you”?
It’s because a healthy vocabulary isn’t about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it’s about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one’s pay grade or station in life.
Even remuneration-engorged municipal corporate attorneys can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate what they knew and when they knew it, all we have left is plenty of time — and the opportunity to learn something, if we’re so inclined.
Our word today is midden, a noun that refers to a dunghill or refuse heap. Synonyms include muckheap, muckhill and dunghill. Middens are especially cherished by archaeologists, who learn about the past by analyzing waste.
A midden (also kitchen midden or shell heap; from early Scandinavian; Danish: mødding, Swedish regional: mödding) is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, human excrement, botanical material, vermin, shells, sherds, lithics (especially debitage), and other artifacts and ecofacts associated with past human occupation.
The word is of Scandinavian via Middle English derivation, and is today used by archaeologists worldwide to describe any kind of feature containing waste products relating to day-to-day human life. They may be convenient, single-use pits created by nomadic groups or long-term, designated dumps used by sedentary communities that accumulate over several generations.
A sample sentence:
The city’s economic development director, proud as the rooster who is left unchallenged upon the midden, crowed away in a last long burst of quotation and TIFfrontery.
(Thanks to the Free Dictionary for this sentence)