One of the charms of the net is that you sometimes stumble across enjoyable items, such as one I found while researching our previous word, balduchin.
"Before he died of a pulmonary embolism at 73, [Senator] Everett McKinley Dirksen had himself become a unique object of Americana." Dirksen's skills of oratory inspired the purple prose of the obituary we quote this week.
rheum – a watery discharge from the eyes or nose [among other meanings]
He had the rheumy eyes of a bloodhound, the jowls of a St. Bernard and a baldachin of white hair like that of an extraordinarily unkempt poodle. His face, reporters joked, looked as if it had been slept in. – Time Magazine, Sept. 19, 1969
November 20, 2006, 11:44
sesquipedalian – 1. Given to the use of long words 2. (of a word) long and ponderous; polysyllabic [from Latin sesquipedalis ‘a foot and a half long’]
diapason – an organ stop sounding a main register of flue pipes 2. a grand swelling burst of harmony [Greek dia pason khordon ‘through all notes’]
[Everett McKinley Dirksen] was prophetically named for the 19th century orator Edward Everett and for William McKinley, who was elected President the year that Ev [was]born. When he spoke, there issued forth a sesquipedalian vocabulary, diapasonal sounds like a Hammond organ in dense fog.
Sidenote on orator Edward Everett: In 1863 Everett, as the featured speaker at the dedication of a Civil War cemetery, orated for two hours. He was followed by brief remarks from another speaker who had been added to the program as a last-minute afterthought. The latter speaker was Abraham Lincoln, and his remarks were his Gettysburg Address.
November 21, 2006, 08:56
grandiloquence – a lofty, extravagantly colorful, pompous, or bombastic style, especially in language
In 1917, he quit school, joined the Army and shipped off to France, where … he was assigned to man a tethered balloon 3,500 ft. above the lines, spotting artillery targets and sweating out German fighters. He sometimes joked that his duty in the "gas bag" must have had something to do with his later grandiloquence.
A sample of Dirksen:
No, you can't eat freedom, or buy anything with it. You can't hock it downtown for the things you need. When a baby curls a chubby arm around your neck, you can't eat that feeling either, or buy anything with it. But what in this life means more to you than that feeling, or your freedom?
November 21, 2006, 12:03
Originally posted by wordcrafter:
Lovely word, WC. Subtly different from the grandiloquent word euphuism(-istic). The OED defines it: the name of a certain type of diction and style which originated in the imitation of Lyly's Euphues (see prec.), and which was fashionable in literature and in the conversation of cultivated society at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th c. Hence applied to any similar kind of affectation in writing or speech, and (loosely) to affectedly periphrastic or ‘high-flown’ language in general.
Euphues is Greek for well endowed by nature. Euphues was the chief character in John Lyly's two works, Euphues, The Anatomy of Wit (1578), and Euphues and his England (1580).This message has been edited. Last edited by: pearce,
November 21, 2006, 17:54
Fascinating, Pearce. So your word is an eponym (from the Lyly character, rather than directly from the Greek)?
November 22, 2006, 09:51
Today's quote uses fustian ('inflated, pompous language', among other meanings), a previous word-of the-day which comes from a place name (a toponym). Today's first word is also a toponym.
Chautauqua – an annual summer educational meeting providing public lectures, concerts, and dramas, usually in an outdoor setting. [after such meetings originating in 1974 in Chautauqua, New York]
rapscallionry – a rare form of the word rapscallion – a mischievous person; a rascal; a ne'er-do well [the female counterpart-word, now obsolete, is rampallion]
His performances had a consciously archaic quality about them. He satirized fustian while indulging in it. His senatorial solemnity was a species of burlesque. He belonged in a Chautauqua rather than a McLuhan age, although he became a master of television performing. His manner, leavened by an exquisite sense of self-parody, conjured up Americana, suggestions of snake-oil peddlers, backwoods Shakespeareans, the gentle rapscallionry of Penrod Schofield's or Pudd'nhead Wilson's world.
November 22, 2006, 10:30
I've always had a fond place in my heart for Euphuistic prose. You can read about Lyly and his works here and also get his books from Google books for free.
There dwelt in Athens a young gentleman of great patrimony, and of so comely a personage, that it was doubted whether he were more bound to Nature for the lineaments of his person, or to Fortune for the increase of his possessions. But Nature impatient of comparisons, and as it were disdaining a companion or copartner in her working, added to this comeliness of his body such a sharp capacity of mind, that not only she proved Fortune counterfeit, but was half of that opinion that she herself was only current. This young gallant, of more with than wealth, and yet of more wealth than wisdom, seeing himself inferior to none in pleasant conceits, thought himself superior to all in honest conditions, insomuch that he deemed himself so apt to all things, that he gave himself almost to nothing, but practicing of those things commonly which are incident to these sharp wits, fine phrases, smooth quipping, merry taunting, using jesting without mean, and abusing mirth without measure. As therefore the sweetest rose hath his prickle, the finest velvet his brack, the fairest flower his bran, so the sharpest wit hath his wanton will, and the holiest head his wicked way. And true it is that some men write and most men believe, that in all perfect shapes, a blemish bringeth rather a liking every way to the eyes, than a loathing any way to the mind. Venus had her mole in her cheek which made her more amiable: Helen her scar on her chin which Paris called cos amoris, the whetstone of love. Aristippus his wart, Lycurgus his wen: So likewise in the disposition of the mind, either virtue is overshadowed with some vice, or vice overcast with some virtue. Alexander valiant in war, yet given to wine. Tully eloquent in his glozes, yet vainglorious: Solomon wise, yet too wanton: David holy but yet an homicide: none more witty than Euphues, yet at the first none more wicked. The freshest colors soonest fade, the teenest razor soonest turneth his edge, the finest cloth is soonest eaten with moths, and the cambric sooner stained than the coarse canvas: which appeared well in this Euphues, whose wit being like wax apt to receive any impression, and having the bridle in his own hands, either to use the rein or the spur, disdaining counsel, leaving his country, loathing his old acquaintance, thought either by wit to obtain some conquest, or by shame to abide some conflict, and leaving the rule of reason, rashly ran unto destruction. Who preferring fancy before friends, and his present humor, before honor to come, laid reason in water being too salt for his taste, and followed unbridled affection, most pleasant for his tooth. When parents have more care how to leave their children wealthy than wise, and are more desirous to have them maintain the name, than the nature of a gentleman: when they put gold into the hands of youth, where they should put a rod under their girdle, when instead of awe they make them past grace, and leave them rich executors of goods, and poor executors of godliness, then it is no marvel, that the son being left rich by his father's will, become retchless by his own will.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
November 22, 2006, 18:06
The last part of zmj's quote says "then it is no marvel, that the son being left rich by his father's will, become retchless by his own will."
Great word there, though I'd never heard of retchless: Careless; reckless.
November 23, 2006, 08:03
floriated – decorated or adorned with floral ornaments
Here used metaphorically.
He was personally kind and shamelessly sentimental. … Each year, in his most floriated prose, he beseeched the Senate to designate the marigold as the nation's official flower: "It is as sprightly as the daffodil, as delicate as the carnation, as aggressive as the petunia, as ubiquitous as the violet and as stately as the snapdragon."
Dirksen was not merely an orator; he was a leader of his party:
Among Senate Republicans, Dirksen exercised an unchallenged leadership that will probably be impossible for his successor to achieve. … the position will inevitably count for less now that Dirksen is gone. The reason is not merely the scope of the job; it is the stature and the enormous range of the man who has vacated it. Dirksen's act would be impossible for anyone to follow. Who else, after all, could have won a Grammy and outsold Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan with a record on which he read the Declaration of Independence, backed by full orchestra and chorus?
November 24, 2006, 09:46
zmj's long quote from Lyly says, "The freshest colors soonest fade, the teenest razor soonest turneth his edge, the finest cloth is soonest eaten with moths."
teenest? OED lists it as a word, but it may in fact be a simple typo for keenest: OED gives no quotes other than Lyly. Here is OED's full entry for this definition:
¶3. ? Corruption of keen. rare.
1579 LYLY Euphues (Arb.) 34 The freshest colours soonest fade, the teenest Rasor soonest tourneth his edge. 1580Ibid. 249 Setting a teene edge, wher thou desirest to haue a sharp poynt. [So edd.1580-1587;edd.1595- keenest, keen.]
November 29, 2006, 09:50
[QUOTE]Originally posted by wordnerd: teenest? OED lists it as a word, but it may in fact be a simple typo for keenest: OED gives no quotes other than Lyly.
I think, judging by the context and citations that teene must be a corruption of keen, obviously more popular in the 16th century.