This week let's have fun with words from the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.
equipoise - 1. a counterbalance 2. equality of weight or force; hence, equilibrium -- said of moral, political, or social interests or forces
...not all that different from plain ol' poise: balance, coolness, composure - also, the measuring unit of viscosity
Instead of "Words from Gilbert & Sullivan", let's make our theme "Words from Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado".
minion – 1. an obsequious follower or dependent; a sycophant 2. a subordinate official.
Did you know there's a place in Cornwall called Minions?
Do tell, Ros? Details?
ablution – the act of washing oneself (or another person), typically as part of a religious rite.
(Typically used in the plural, as in performed his ablutions.)
The Christian practices of baptism and foot-washing are instances of ablution.
Gilbert strained this word a bit, to make a rhyme for "Executioner".
Unfortunately that's all I know! I spotted it while on holiday in Cornwall recently. However, a quick web search reveals that they have their own website
Apparently the name comes from Minions Mound, which is a nearby barrow. Possibly one in which minions were buried?
From Ruddigore: "It gets worse -- by degrees!"
Continuing Pooh-Bah's song:
It's a hopeless case
As you may see,
And in your place
Away I'd flee
But don't blame me,
I'm sorry to be
Of your pleasure a diminutioner!
They'll vow their pact extremely soon,
In point of fact this afternoon.
Her honeymoon with that buffoon
As seven commences, so you shun her!
(And the brass will crash,
And the trumpets bray,
And they'll cut a dash on their wedding day!
She'll toddle away, as all aver,
With the Lord High Executioner.)
quote:I could find only a site which says, "For more information on Minions please visit there own web site at" the link Ros supplied.
condign – deserved; adequate (especially of punishment); suitable to the fault or crime.
tocsin – the ringing of an alarm bell (or the bell itself); extended, an alarm
effulgent – shining brilliantly; resplendent; or as if shining
pooh-bah - a pompous ostentatious official, especially one who, holding many offices, fulfills none of them
After the character Pooh-Bah in The Mikado, whom we quoted above as saying, "It is consequently my degrading duty to serve this upstart... . And at a salary! A Pooh-Bah paid for his services! I a salaried minion! But I do it! It revolts me, but I do it!"
The moment I saw this word, I thought of something that I'm sure not one person here watches. It's a little tv show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just hear me out ya'll.
On this show there is a very tough dangerous vampire named Spike a.k.a William the Bloody ( named thusly because he tortured early victims with a railroad spike). In an episode entitled Fool for Love, we learn that the pre-vampire guy was a bit of a sensitive, foppish mama's boy. When we meet his character, he is attempting to write a love poem at a party.
Luminous... oh, no, no, no. Irradiant's better.
WAITER approaches and holds out a tray.
Care for an hors d'oeuvre, sir?
Oh, quickly! I'm the very spirit of vexation. What's another word for "gleaming"? It's a perfectly perfect word as many words go but the bother is nothing rhymes, you see.
He scribbles some more, and his sad little poem is snatched from his hand by another partygoer.
The third aristocrat snatches the poem from Spike's hands.
I see. Well, don't withhold, William.
Rescue us from a dreary topic.
(to Aristocrat #3)
Careful. The inks are still wet. Please, it's not finished.
Don't be shy. (reads) "My heart expands/'tis grown a bulge in it/inspired by your beauty, effulgent." (laughs) Effulgent?
Then several partygoers laugh derisively, saying he's called "William the Bloody" because of his 'bloody awful poetry' and how they'd rather have a railroad spike thru the head than read his work.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Ya'll talk about Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespeare and I'm talking about Buffy. <sigh>
quote:Don't apologize. BuffytVS is known as having great interest in language issues.
Indeed, Verbatim Magazine, which is edited by the Midwest (US) regional editor of OED, published an article on that aspect of the show. (Unfortunately, Verbatim's website is terrible.) Excerpt:
WB's note of "effulgent" in pop "culture" brings to recall a bit of dialogue in some stupid recent movie in which squads of high-school cheerleaders compete for a national cheerleading championship. A team captain issues a pep-talk to her team, minutes before its crucial performance:
I'd doubt it. The Cornish language has been anglicized quite heavily.
Take "Mousehole", for instance, in Cornish it's Mowzal.
Perhaps originally it's "Menhirs Mound", or starts with "men" as that's Cornish for standing stone, as in Men Scryfa (the written stone) or Menheniot.
Ah. Cornwall Online says that the name came from the standing stones, called The Hurlers.
Originally re-quoted by Wordnerd
This brings to mind the rape-trial scene in a novel (Bonfire of the Vanities (?))
Defense Attorney: Did the rapist have an orgasm?
Blonde Plaintiff: No, he had a custom Continental.