The OED Word of the Day is historiaster, defined as An inferior or mediocre historian. This gives me a chance to write about the aster suffix, which is a favorite of mine, and which I don’t use often enough. It’s just a derogatory suffix indicating inferiority: a poetaster is a terrible poet; a medicaster is a terrible doctor (something a bit different, I think, from a quack); an astrologaster is … an astrologist. But it’s a great opportunity for a refined dig at an enemy. People have described their (obviously inferior) enemies as militasters, musicasters, scientasters, and even complementasters. I think it’s a bit petty, honestly, to criticize someone for making lame compliments, but also it does seem to take the e and not the i in its admittedly infrequent usage, which seems even odder. I could complain, but at the risk of being called a philologaster or even a grammaticaster, or I suppose if we were criticizing my use of the Greek roots, a Classicaster. So, instead of either complementaster or complimentaster, I will prefer the term encomiaster.
I like the idea of a criticaster, but I have to wonder how low one would have to sink to be described as a punditaster. I mean, just being wrong and boring wouldn’t be enough, would it? I suppose one could be adequate at writing, but terrible at the part of the job that involves going on the talk shows, which would make you a broadcasteraster, wouldn’t it?
Being a bad priest makes you a clericaster and being bad at theology makes you a theologaster, but being bad at heresy makes you a hereticaster. Man, that’s harsh, innit? Being called a heretic, well, there’s a little respect in that. But a hereticaster… stoning that guy is just a waste of perfectly good rocks. Don’t need to tie him to the stake for that sick burn, bro-aster.
Oh, speaking of fratrasters, I don’t see any usage of inferior family words—no matrasters or patrasters or filiasters, avunculasters or sororiasters. A grandmaster is something else.