Several years ago, I had this friend who always insisted on topping your story with a story of his own. It didn't matter what story you told because he'd jump in at the end with a "That's cool, but I've...." Since then, I've run across a few more people that did the same thing, and I've always wondered why people were compelled to "top" other people's experiences. Eventually, I put it down to a need for validation, and it wasn't until recently that I came across a new perspective. They could have just been Aretalogers. Aretaloger is a forgotten word that describes a braggart, or someone who likes to boast about their accomplishments. It comes from the Latin word aretalogus, which means "boaster, prattler about virtue." From what I can tell (because there aren't a lot of sources for this one), it was first used around 1623 when Henry Cockeram added it into The English Dictionarie. His entry read:
"Aretalogon, a vaunter of his owne vertues."
Aretaloger is a noun and can be used as such when writing. Some other examples might include:
"William told me about his trophy for the millionth time today. I swear, that boy is such an aretaloger."
"The Aretaloger's Anonymous meeting had to be cut short because you couldn't hear the therapist above the din of voices, each one trying to boast above the next."
"Why did you call me a...what was it...aretaloger? What does that even mean?"
Writing about Aretalogers may be easy, but pronouncing it is a different matter. I couldn't find a written pronunciation, but I did find a YouTube Video that will read it to you.
Do you know who the Aretaloger is in your group? If you can't think of someone that fits the description, I hate to say it, but it's probably YOU!
To learn more about this forgotten word, visit The Phrontistery or Words and Phrases from the Past. The photo is my own.