Last week’s theme tended to degrade into just fancy medical synonyms for body-parts which have a familiar, everyday name. I’ll try to avoid that trap as we spend a week on the workings of the body. Here’s an embarrassing but familiar concept for which we have no familiar word.
borborygm; borborygmus – a rumbling noise in the guts (due to moving gas)
[from Greek for ‘to rumble’]
OED’s quotes are too delicious for me to look further, particularly if, as I presume, the last one is figurative, referring to Carlyle’s writing.
The borborygmic note of the Arabian camel.
– Times [London] Nov. 24, 1938
The room was very quiet, except for its borborygmic old radiator.
– Elizabeth Fenwick, A Long Way Down
The stertorous [loud] borborygms of the dyspeptic Carlyle!
– Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point
[QUOTE]Originally posted by wordcrafter:
borborygm; borborygmus – a rumbling noise in the guts (due to moving gas) [from Greek for ‘to rumble’][QUOTE}
My grandchildren are at that amusing age when the audible rumblings of the bowels peristalsis arouse great mirth. Nowadays the accompanying embarrassment of parents seems to me outdated, so I recently offered them this:
Mariella, a Tooth fairy smart,
One day whilst enjoying a tart,
Said ‘No, I can’t grumble’,
When her tummy did rumble
So she ran to the Loo* with a bang.
* In the UK Loo is the ever so nice word for the euphemistic lavatory/toilet/John; it may also be in the US. I'm not sure.
eructation – a belch (by a person, or by a volcano)
Not a pretty word, but we have two pretty quotes, one literal and one figurative.
– Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Thunderhead
At intervals Salinas suffered from a mild eructation of morality. The process never varied much. One burst was like another. Sometimes it started in the pulpit and sometimes with a new ambitious president of the Women’s Civic Club. Gambling was invariably the sin to be eradicated. There were certain advantages to attacking gambling. One could discuss it, which was not true of prostitution … and most of the games were operated by Chinese. There was little change of treading on the toes of a relative.
– John Steinbeck, East of Eden
quote: "My grandchildren are at that amusing age when the audible rumblings of the bowels peristalsis arouse great mirth."
And we of course understand that you offer your limerick, not because you think this mature audience would be amused by such things, but purely in a spirit of grandfatherly pride.
In the same spirit, I offer this little air (non-original):
It was not what I hoped it would be.
Her rumblings abdomimal
Were something phenomenal –
And everyone thought it was me!
(PS: I wonder if there's a word, akin to 'paternal', which means 'grandfatherly'.)
I wonder if there's a word, akin to 'paternal', which means 'grandfatherly'.
Well, grandfather is avus (-i) in Latin, and there's an adjectival form avitus (-a, -um) 'belonging to a granfather; traditonal, old'. (A derivation of avus is avunculus 'mother's brother; uncle' (as opposed to patruus (-i) 'father's brother'). English avitous exists, but it means 'very old'. Some inkhorn dictionaries list aval for 'grandparently'.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
Interesting that we use avuncular to mean "like an uncle", and not a word based on patruus.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
not a word based on patruus
And, I would like to know where are the language doomsayers when they should be agitating? People, who ordain that decimate must be used in its strict etymological sense, i.e., 'killing every tenth man picked at random from a group', should be rioting in the streets about the incorrect use of avuncular to refer to both parents brothers. So, the next time somebody uses avuncular about their paternal uncle, ahem and say: "Oughtn't one rather to use patrual?"
[Corrected typo and added adjective.]This message has been edited. Last edited by: zmježd,
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
Surely it was every tenth man...?
every tenth man
Yes, I've corrected the error.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
That would be the popular word tresimate.
How amazing apt to be speaking of tresimate! See the first quote of the next word-of-the-day.
suppurate – to form or discharge pus
Suitable for figurative use as an insult, as in the second quote.
I don’t know about you, but if I lived in an age when God was zinging every third person in my town with suppurating bubos, I don't think I'd look on Him as being on my side.
– Bill Bryson, Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
Hush, you suppurating old boil of a peasant.
– Gregory Maguire, Mirror Mirror
bubo (adj. bubonic) – a swollen inflamed lymph node in the armpit or groin
then, of course, there's vigesimation, for those not so bloody-minded.
bruxism – habitual, involuntary gritting or grinding the teeth, esp. when in stress or during sleep, as from anger, tension, fear, or frustration
I smiled at the titles of the two works that provide our quotes.
. . .Get thee out of here, sweet Jesus, Mama thought, trapped under this freak’s bright lights and hovering face.
– Susan Reinhardt, Not Tonight Honey, Wait 'Til I'm a Size Six
There are two types of bruxism: good old-fashioned grinding, and clenching. "There tends to be a male/female divide. “[M]en tend to grind," explains Higson. "[W]omen tend to clench rather than grind, and get sore muscles. Females get more headaches, temporal ones especially."
– The Guardian, While you were sleeping, July 5, 2005 (ellipses omitted)
Wordcrafter, just so you know I read your words of the day, I thought I'd remembered your mentioning suppuration before.
somnolent – sleepy; drowsy
We all know the feeling of oversleeping, which this quote describes so well!
– Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
– Stephen King, Wizard and Glass
After all these fanncy latinate words, it’s nice to have a pair from plain Old English.
blain – a blister; an inflammatory skin swelling or sore
chilblain – painful, itching swelling, on hand or foot, caused by poor skin circulation when exposed to cold
A bit of inspired nonsense from Edward Lear:
"You can hardly be aware
How I suffer from the heat
And from chilblains on my feet.
If we took a little walk,
We might have a little talk;
Pray let us take the air,"
Said the Table to the Chair.
Said the Chair unto the Table,
"Now, you know we are not able:
'How foolishly you talk,
'When you know we cannot walk!"
Said the Table with a sigh,
"It can do no harm to try.
I've as many legs as you;
Why can't we walk on two?"
cicatrice; cicatrix – a scar
– John O'Hara, Appointment in Samarra