Tomorrow, February 7, is the birthday of Charles Dickens. In his honor we will present eponyms from Dickens, characters whose names have become words in our language. We paid Dickens a similar birthday tribute three years ago, and this time we'll present seven more Dickens eponyms, without duplication.
Our first is rather in the spirit of yesterday's Papierkrieg. OED's editors seem to have enjoyed themselves when they defined today's word.
bumbledom – fussy official pomposity and stupidity, especially as displayed by the officers of petty corporations, vestries, etc.; beadledom in its glory.
[From Mr. Bumble, the beadle in Dickens's Oliver Twist]
– Sonia Purnell, in The Independent, Oct 28, 2001
beadle – a minor parish official formerly used to usher and keep order during services. Here is how Dickens introduces the type:
Men of the choleric type take to kicking and smashing - H. G. Wells
For Dickens's birthday we'll look at a happy, well-liked character, from his Martin Chuzzlewit.
Mark Tapley repeatedly says there is 'credit' in remaining ‘jolly’ in a bad situation. He seeks out work as a gravedigger, "a good damp, wormy sort of business, sir, … and there might be some credit in being jolly, with one's mind in that pursuit." What does he think of marriage? "There might be some credit in being jolly with a wife, 'specially if the children had the measles and that, and was very fractious indeed." Indeed, feels uncomfortable in a situation that doesn't offer him such credit!
– William James, Energies of Men
gamp – Chiefly British: a large baggy umbrella.
[After Mrs. Sarah Gamp, in Martin Chuzzlewit, who carried such an impediment.]
Mary Poppins came to the Banks household, carrying her an umbrella aloft and blown in by a windstorm. The umbrella was large enough to make this somewhat plausible! Our quote is from a review of the London stage production of Mary Poppins.
– Howard Bird, Poppin’ round, The Stage Online, Sept. 23, 2004
I know of a much different definition of a gamp. It is a woven sample. In most uses, it is a sample of colors, arranged in order as on a color wheel. According to Harriet Tidball "A gamp is a systematic arrangement of warp threadings or warp color sequences in sections of equal size, each section being a minimum of two inches and not more than six, and woven as drawn in." Most of us weavers aren't so picky about the dimensions. To see some examples of color gamps, go to http://weavehouston.org/newweaversstudygroup.html
Fascinating, LlamaL. The general dictionaries haven't picked up this meaning yet, but a little googling confirms that its a recognized meaning.
This is way over my head, but if I understand right, in a color gamp the warp threads progressively change color across the spectrum, red to violet, and so do the weft threads. The result shows the new weaver can see how every pair of colors interacts.
Here is a lovely picture of something called a Fibonacci color gamp.
I did find this definition, which I'd bet refers to the non-color gamp: "a small fabric sample woven for the stylist to check for irregularities and possible changes in the color."
LlamaLady, help! Have I gotten this more or less right?
Welcome, Llamalady! Tell us about your interest in llamas. You link was great!
Today's is the best-known of all Dickens eponyms.
Scrooge; scrooge – a mean-spirited miserly person; a skinflint
[after Ebenezer Scrooge, miserly protagonist of Dickens's A Christmas Carol]
– John J. Miller, National Review, Dec 31, 2005
Funny how some eponyms become widely known and used, while others don't. I've never heard anybody use - in spoken English - any of your Dickensian words apart from scrooge. Scrooge, however, is used by very many people - for instance young children - for whom there is no connexion with Dickens whatsoever.
Perhaps in this case it's because A Christmas Carol is by far the most accessible of Dickens' works, with a relatively simple plot and tiny cast of characters.
Scrooge McDuck, perhaps? Or one of the dozens of remakes of A Christmas Carol that pop up seemingly every year.
The 1950s performance artist (rapper?) Lord Buckley used "scrooge" as a verb in his mind-boggling interpretation of the Scrooge story.
"I been studying all my life how to Scrooge people, and I guarantee I done some fine work in dat direction."
complete text at:
Quite right, Royston. Most of this week's Dickens eponyms are quite rare words. The previous Dickens thread, three years ago, used up many that were somewhat more common. (Bad planning on my part!)
Chadband – an oily, religious/moralistic hypocrite
The Rev. Mr. Chadband, in Dickens's Bleak House (1853), "is much admired by his dupes, and pretends to despise the 'carnal world' but nevertheless loves dearly its 'good things,' and is most self-indulgent."— Brewer
patriarch with an air of disinterested benevolence and unassuming sanctity.
– Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend (1971)
The man was a sanctimonious Chadband. He had come with nefarious designs on
Judith's slender capital. I saw knavery in the whites of his upturned eyes.
– William John Locke, The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne: A Novel (1906)
Chadband, eh? May I have the pronunciation, please, and is it always capitalized?
Oh...no particular reason....
(By the way, have you met my ex-husband?)
podsnap – an insularly complacent, self-satisfied person who refuses to face unpleasant facts
[after Mr. Podsnap, in Dickens's Our Mutual Friend]
Today's quote is old but marvelous.
– Nebraska State Journal, February 21, 1922, quoting Kansas City Star
Oh, I see you do know him....
Dolly Varden – a colorful California species of trout or char
[from the flamboyant, colorful costume of Ms. Dolly Varden in Dickens's Barnaby Rudge.]
– The Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Press, Nov. 28, 1940
Dolly Varden – 1. cloth a large flower pattern, or a certain dress style made from that fabric 2. a style of women's hat, large and abundantly trimmed with flowers
– advertisement, Suburbanite Economist (Chicago), October 27, 1971
WordNerd - yes, you got it right. I also am surprised that the term hasn't made it to the dictionaries that I consulted. I got into weaving because I was spinning fiber from my llamas, and the interest in color came because I was doing some dyeing using natural colors (from plants and bugs).
Kalleh - I started with a couple of backyard llamas to go backpacking with and now I have a small farm and a herd of 15 (including a couple of alpacas for fiber and cuteness). What I do with the llamas: breeding, showing, packing, carting, and use their fiber. What has proved to be most facinating about the entire endeavor is that I've gained expertise in such varied subjects as spinning, weaving, natural dyes, veterinary medicine, parasite ID and treatment, pasture management, neonatal care (including how to turn a baby that is malpositioned), cart driving, toxic plants, camelid genetics, barn building, forage quality, and more.
It's an opportunity for lifelong learning, for sure.
On behalf of the international fraternity and sorority of anglers, I am hurt! HURT, I say, on their behalf! Is it suggested that, for some (unstated) reason, anglers ought not to know Dickens? Ought anglers not no know literature generally? Well, many many anglers have read and know the following:
That book, subtitled The Contemplative Man's Recreation, is the third most reprinted book (after the Holy Bible and Pilgrim's Progress) in the English language. There must be quite a lot of contemplative, inquiring, searching, observant, well read anglers out there!
Perhaps wordcrafter was referring to Californians? Oregonean and Washingtonian anglers would perhaps be much more literate.