In the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote “In woman vinolent is no defence, This knowen lecchours by experience”, meaning that lechers succeed by getting women drunk, since vinolent means intemperate or addicted to wine. It has nothing to do with violence, but is from Latin vīnolentus in the same sense, obviously enough a relative of vinum, wine.
Chaucer’s use is easily its most famous appearance in literature, because vinolent has never been common and indeed has almost completely vanished from the English language (though a web search did turn up a firm apparently willing to print the word on a T-shirt for you; if you wore one it might provoke spectators to ask whether you were boasting or complaining). This is a very rare example:
By half-past nine a kinder vinolent atmosphere had put to sleep the hatreds and suspicions of before dinner.
Mortal Coils, by Aldous Huxley, 1921.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
Words of the Year 2015; Peradventure; Sconce; Orchidelirium; How’s your father; Goon; Emoji; Thank your mother for the rabbits; Nonplussed; Bob’s-a-dying; Methinks; Bill of goods; Binge-watching; Codswallop; That’s all she wrote; Great Scott; Gone for a Burton; Pull the plug; Bob’s your uncle; Gibberish; You snowing me?; Chi-ike; Salop; Hairy eyeballs; Broom-squire; Latrinalia; Charon; True blue; Nakation; Hands off?
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!