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Words from Ogden Nash

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December 08, 2003, 21:47
Words from Ogden Nash
This week's will be words from Ogden Nash. All credit to hic et ubique, who graciously provided the words and the Nash quotes. Any errors of definition or commentary, however, are mine.
How many gifted pens have penned
That mother is a boy's best friend!
How many more with like afflatus
Award the dog that honored status!
I hope my tongue in prune juice smothers
If I belittle dogs or mothers,
But gracious, how can I agree?
I know my own best friend is Me.
Versus (1949)
afflatus – a strong creative impulse, lit. or fig. born of divine inspiration

The etymology is a sweetly poetic image of inspiration, for afflatus comes from Latin afflare, to blow at or breathe on. It is a sibling of inflate and deflate.
December 09, 2003, 08:16
The etymology is a sweetly poetic image of inspiration, for afflatus comes from Latin afflare, to blow at or breathe on. It is a sibling of inflate and deflate.

...considering it's also a sibling of "flatulence," which may or may not be poetic but is hardly ever sweet.

The root is Latin "flatus", viz:

flat'us - to breathe
flo, flare, flavi, flatus

with in-, de-, af- just various prefixes, indicating where or how to breathe.
December 09, 2003, 10:13
considering it's also a sibling of "flatulence," which may or may not be poetic but is hardly ever sweet.
Oh, darn! Hab beat me to that one. I can't think of any "flatus" as being particularly sweet!

Thanks for this thread, Hic. I love Ogden!
December 09, 2003, 10:59
jerry thomas
a flat tire is deflated

(( Old Norse flatr ))
December 10, 2003, 13:23
abattoir - a slaughterhouse
The Calf
from I'm a Stranger Here Myself (1935)

Pray, butcher, spare yon tender calf!
Accept my plea on his behalf;
He's but a babe, too young by far
To perish in the abattoir.
Oh, cruel butcher, let him feed
Antd gambol on the verdant mead;
Let clovertops and grassy banks
Fill out those childish ribs and flanks.
Then may we, at some future meal,
Pitch into beef, instead of veal.

Bonus word:
mead - a meadow
[A separate word, with a separate history, is "mead - an alcoholic beverage of femented honey".]
December 10, 2003, 21:26
mead - an alcoholic beverage of femented honey
Mmmmm! Sounds like Fuller's 1845! Wink
December 11, 2003, 02:59
Richard English
Actually it's more like Fuller's Honey Dew. It is described on their site thus:

Organic Honey Dew is a refreshing golden beer which is brewed entirely from English organic malt and hops and is laced with the finest organic honey, which lends the beer not only a wonderfully aromatic nose, but also outstanding smoothness. The natural sweetness, however, is perfectly counterpoised by the Target hops, which provide a zesty finish to the flavour. 5% ABV in bottle and 4.3% in cask.

Richard English
December 11, 2003, 07:42
One can alway make use of a well-turned insult to someone's appearance.

prognathous – having a lower jaw that projects forward
The Toucan

The toucan's profile is prognathous,
Its person is a thing of bathos.
If even I can tell a toucan
I'm reasonably sure that you can.

The Private Dining Room (1952)

Bonus word: bathos – 1. triteness, commonplaceness 2. anticlimax: sudden shift from elevated matter to commonplace
December 11, 2003, 18:56
Ahhh, remember our "bathos"thread?
December 12, 2003, 07:54
guerdon – reward, recompense (noun and verb)
samaritan - one ready and generous in helping those in distress

Nash laments: If a celebrity does a good deed, the plaudits flow in the press. If an Ordinary Joe does a good deed, nobody notices.

We could guide old ladies across the street,
And stand old ladies a bite to eat
And give old ladies a lift to town,
And help old ladies knock the landlord down,
And a damn would be given by nobody.

I am, I've said, a kindly man,
Of less than modest wealth,
And I sometimes tire, as a person can,
Of doing good by stealth.
I frequently go without a meal
That an orphan may have his,
But the lonely inner glow I feel
My only guerdon is.
O, oft I've handed some hag in weeds
My final Camel or Tareyton,
But nobody chronicles the deeds
Of this Forgotten Samaritan.

- Many Long Years Ago (1931)

December 13, 2003, 23:37
gossoon – a young boy (Irish; informal)
pergola – a frame structure with a latticework roof, to support climbing plants
punctilio – precise observance of the proper formalities; also, a fine or over-fine point of etiquette
The Eternal Vernal (excerpted)
from Versus (1949)

Forgive this singsong,
It's just my spring song.
All winter like the blossoms
I've been playing possums,
But with April adjacent
I'm a possum renascent.
I'm a gossoon once more,
Not forty-five, but forty-four.
I where the herring do
In search of derring-do.
I crouch in a pergola
To catch me a burgola.
I woo nymphs like billy-o
With my well known punctilio,
Which unless I've progressed
Is the punkest tilio by actual test.
In a word it is spring,
And I can do any thing.