Header image of books


Pronounced /pəʊˈsɪləvɪ/Help with pronunciation

The word is from Latin pocillum, a little cup or a small cupful. This has given us a few rare and obsolete words, such as pocill, a draught or potion, pocilliform (shaped like a cup), pocillator (a cup-bearer), and pocillation (the action of bearing a cup).

Pocillovy and its linked term pocillovist, on the other hand, are modern creations. An article in the Financial Times in May 1984 claimed that Winnie Freeman, a housewife and collector of Reigate in Surrey, invented the former word, basing it on the Latin pocillum ovi, a small cup for an egg. She used it in the title for her little monograph on the hobby of collecting eggcups.

A word of narrow focus and specialist appeal, pocillovy is rare enough that no dictionary has yet opened its pages to admit it, although it may be found among aficionados of this hobby and in occasional news items.

If he had an eccentricity, it was perhaps his interest in pocillovy — the collecting of egg-cups. He had 1,400 of them, filling a large cupboard in his office.

The Times (London), 20 Dec. 1999.

It’s an odd-looking term, which emphasises its essential weirdness, since the only common English words that end in -ovy are anchovy, groovy and Muscovy.

Search World Wide Words

Support this website!

Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.

Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 18 Oct. 2003
Last updated: 11 Sep. 2010

Advice on copyright

The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-poc1.htm
Last modified: 11 September 2010.