USn's will celebrate their Thanksgiving holiday next week, with its traditionally sumptuous family meal. Wordcraft honors that holiday by devoting this week's theme to words of the feast.
provender – food or provisions (also, dry food for livestock, such as hay
[from Latin præbenda things to be furnished (præ- before + habere to hold), influenced by provide]
Ogden Nash tells of a fancy double-date in The Private Dining Room.
Miss Cavendish wore lavender
We ate pickerel and mackerel
And other lavish provender.
Miss Cavendish was Lalage,
Miss Rafferty was Barbara.
We gobbled pickled mackerel
And broke the candelabra
Miss Rafferty wore taffeta,
The taffeta was lavender
Was lavend, lavender, lavendest
As the wine improved the provender.
Miss Rafferty in taffeta,
Grew definitely raffisher.
Miss Cavendish in lavender
Grew less and less stand-offfisher.
… But lavender and taffeta
Were gone when we were soberer.
I haven't thought for thirty years
Of Lalage and Barbara.
raffish – marked 1. by flashy vulgarity or crudeness; tawdry; or 2. by careless unconventionality; rakish
Related to "prebend," the income from an estate.
Ambrose Bierce defined "to eat" as meaning "to perform successively (and successfully) the functions of mastication, humectation, and deglutition." We'll look at the first of these today, with the other two to follow.
masticate – to chew (food) [also, to grind and knead (rubber, for example) into a pulp]
– Erma Bombeck, Forever, Erma
. . ."Where's Professor Knowles today, he asked Charlotte, the department secretary.
. . ."Called in sick."
. . ."Oh? We were supposed to have lunch today."
. . .Charlotte gazed up at him. "Lunch?" Her big brown eyes widened suggestively. He didn't appreciate the suggestion.
. . ."Yes, Charlotte, we were going to masticate together."
. . .Charlotte's face simmered. "Oh?"
. . ."You might want to look it up." He grinned. "Masticate."
. . .She gulped. "OK."
– Elizabeth Brundage, The Doctor's Wife (ellipses omitted)
to eat – to perform successively (and successfully) the functions of mastication, humectation, and deglutition
masticate [discussed yesterday] – to chew (food)
humectation – the act of moistening
deglutition – the act of swallowing
(The verb forms humect, humectate and deglute are "now rare" or "obsolete", says OED.)
Humectation is rare, but humectant (a substance used to reduce the loss of moisture) has become much more common in the last decade or so. Deglutition is also rare, but I found nice figurative usages in a classic, and in a Thanksgiving-Day story about "deglutition" in a marriage.
– Stephen Fry, Revenge: A Novel
True, generous feeling is made small account of by some …. Feeling without judgment is a washy draught indeed; but judgment untempered by feeling is too bitter and husky a morsel for human deglutition.
– Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
. . .It was Thanksgiving evening, that sweet peaceful time after the dishes are washed and put away, and the turkey soup is simmering on the back of the stove, when Sally's husband, Dave, told her that their marriage felt like a snake around his neck, and he wanted a divorce.
. . ."Dave just said our marriage was cold dead weight on his shoulders, like a snake," [Sally tells her sister. That night, s]he crept … downstairs to the encyclopedias on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. "All snakes are carnivorous and as a rule take living prey only," she read. … "The prey is always swallowed entire, and, as its girth generally much exceeds that of the snake, the progress of deglutition is very laborious and slow."
– The Progress of Deglutition, in Nothing with Strings [etc.] by Bailey White
ingurgitate – (literal or figurative) 1. to swallow food or drink greedily; to gulp down; to "pig out" 2. to eat or drink to excess
So say the dictionaries. But it seems to me in actual use, the term implies being forced to swallow something disagreeable, to have it "shoved down your throat".
– Eugen Joseph Weber, The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s
"In the first place, the U. S. cocktail hour is much too long but quite necessary as it gets the guests inebriated enough to ingurgitate the unsavory mess the hostess sets on a blob of rice in each plate."
– Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, Aug. 29, 1962, quoting a pompous gourmet
Americans may be familiar with the late Prof. Weber from his excellent series The Western Tradition on public television.
Here's a word you can drop into Thanksgiving Day celebrations. It can be remembered because it's related to razor, in that each comes from a root meaning "to scrape".
rasorial – related to birds that scratch the ground for their food – such as the turkey, who is the "guest of honor" at the Thanksgiving feast. Other rasorial birds are the chicken, partridge, grouse, quail, and peacock.
– William Gaddis, The Recognitions
For your Thanksgiving feast, I wish you the good form of satiety. As the Romans said, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we diet." May you and your turkey each be well-stuffed.
satiate (noun form satiety) – 1. to satisfy (an appetite or desire) fully 2. to satisfy to excess
Usually used in either a blood-thirsty sense or a sexual sense. For example:
– Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
She sat up. The bedclothes slipped from her breasts as she kissed him softly, sighing with satiated pleasure.
– Herman Wouk, The Winds of War