On Friday 14th December 7pm at The Unitarian Chapel Warwick
Mark Forsyth will talk about his book
‘The Horologicon’ (or book of hours) gives you the most extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to the hour of the day when you really need them. Do you wake up feeling rough? Then you’re philogrobolized. Pretending to work? That’s fudgelling, which may lead to rizzling if you feel sleepy after lunch, though by dinner time you will have become a sparkling deipnosophist.
From Mark Forsyth, author of the bestselling ‘The Etymologicon’, which was our most talked-about book of the year, this will be an evening of great humour and endless fascination. Just to give you a flavour
Ploitering is pretending to work. A wheady mile is an old Shropshire term, new to me, for a familiar experience: the “last bit of a journey that goes on much longer than you had planned.”
The rude-sounding poon, sexual slang in one guise, is also an old Winchester school slang term meaning to prop up a piece of unsteady furniture with a wedge — a poon — under the leg. Gymnologising means, marvelously, debating naked, while rhubarbing, which sounds like something else you’d do naked, is in fact “the standard word that actors use in a crowd scene when they wish to mimic the sound of general conversation”:
Nobody knows why rhubarb was picked for this purpose, or exactly when, but it’s etymologically perfect. ‘Rhubarb’ comes from the ancient Greek Rha Barbaron, which literally means ‘foreign rhubarb,’ because rhubarb was a strange oriental delicacy imported to the classical world via Russia from Tibet. ‘Barbaron’ was Greek for foreigner because foreigners were all barbarians. But the important thing was that the barbarians were called barbarians because they spoke a foreign and unintelligible language, which sounded to the Greeks as though they were just saying ‘bar-bar-bar-bar’ all the time (roughly in the way that we say ‘blah-blah-blah’ or ‘yadda-yadda-yadda’). Therefore, the ancient word for unintelligible mumbling has, after a journey of several thousand years, come straight back to its original purpose.
But it’s the way Mark talks about all this that is the real joy…if you heard any of his programs on Radio 4 you’ll want to come. Be sure to get your tickets early!
this is a book of weird words for familiar situations. From ante-jentacular to snudge by way of quafftide and wamblecropt, at last you can say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.
Tickets FREE from Warwick Books or Kenilworth Books. Thanks to Icon Books for enabling us to put on this event .