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Happy Birthday redkam, athelind, and the_monkey_king!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

superchery
Deceit; cheating; an old word of French origin.
--Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon, c. 1850


Foul play; an injurie, wrong, affront, bravado.
--Randle Cotgrave's Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, 1611


Corn Harvest
On this date in 1854, American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, serving as American consul to England, jotted in his journal: "There came into my office a few days ago a man of about fifty, short and square, with a foreign look and tongue, rather shrewdly dressed, and with a forward demeanor. He announced himself as an 'eradicator of corns,' and produced two thick quarto volumes of testimonials from innumerable persons, among whom were many distinguished Americans. Many of these were fortified with the wax-seals as well as signatures of the writers. He wished to know if I myself had any corns for him to operate upon. ... A bold, showy, gentlemanly, vulgar humbug -- a man whom I think I have heard of in America, who takes out any number of corns at half a dollar apiece, and never failed to find an abundant harvest. His two books of testimonials would doubtless be valuable to autograph collectors."

Aren't "gentlemanly" and "vulgar" contradictory?

-The Gneech

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
jedi_iwakura
Feb. 28th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
Wait, wait, are we talking yummy food corns? Or... uh.. toe corns? Eww.



the_gneech
Feb. 28th, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
You're thinking of yummy food maize. ;)

-TG
hossblacksilver
Feb. 29th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)
Aren't "gentlemanly" and "vulgar" contradictory?

Yes, *pause* but not in the way that most people would think.

I say this because because gentle originally refers to people of the nobility/aristocracy, and vulgar comes originally from the latin word vulgata which means common. Since nobility is most certainly not of the commoners, then they are indeed contradictory.

And I amaze myself that I recall this from my bible history all those many years ago.

On a side note, profane is also derived from a latin term for commoner.

Edited at 2008-02-29 07:06 am (UTC)
hossblacksilver
Feb. 29th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
Oh, and indeed, happy birthday to the fine gentle folks mentioned above. n_n
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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