Impeticos: "A nonsense-word put by Shakespeare in the mouth of a fool: perhaps a misprint.
- Century Dictionary, 1903.
Feste, a drunken jester in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, thanks his benefactor for giving him sixpence; in his befuddled state he confuses his words, and impeticos is born. The usual theory is that this is a corruption of impocket, a word that was likely invented by Shakespeare, but clearly means to place something in one's pocket. There are other theories; Samuel Johnson suggested that the intended word was actually 'impetticoat', petticoat referring either to the colorful robes of the clown or to spending the coin on lose women.
SIR ANDREW: By my troth, the fool has an excellent breast. I had rather than forty shillings I had such a leg; and so sweet a breath to sing, as the fool has. In sooth, thou wast in very gracious fooling last night when thou spokest of Pigrogromitus, of the Vapians passing the equinoctial of Queubus; 'twas very
good, i' faith. I sent thee sixpence for thy leman. Hadst it?
FESTE: I did impeticos thy gratillity; for Malvolio's nose is no whipstock. My lady has a white hand, and the Myrmidons are no bottle-ale houses.
Excellent! Why, this is the best fooling, when all is done. Now, a song.
--Twelfth Night II.iii, Shakespeare.
The appearance of impeticos in dictionaries has long drawn criticism, e.g., that it is ridiculous that one-off silly words of famous writers should get dictionary entries while common words are often ignored as slang. Impeticos is not merely a made-up word used by a drunken clown, but a mispronunciation (or typo) of a made-up word. The rot runs deep; while many dictionaries include this word only to let readers of Shakespeare know that it is a silly word, others give it the honor of "verb (transitive) literary 'to put in a pocket'" (Collins English Dictionary, 2018).