December 29th, 2003


Today's Forgotten English

Before I go spend all of day five of six sitting in the car...


Humbug, hoax, pretense, bounce; [from] nineteenth-century French.
--C.A.M. Fennel's Stanford Dictionary of Anglicized Words, 1892

Literally, [a] facility of speech not of a very high order; humbug, fib, chaff.
Albert Barrère's Argot and Slang Dictionary, 1911

Birthday of William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), four-time prime minister of England. A story is told that once, while browsing in an antiquities shop, he took a strong liking to a seventeenth-century portrait of a well-to-do gentleman in splendid Spanish attire. After some financial soul-searching and haggling with the shopkeeper, however, Gladstone decided that the price was too high and declined the purchase. A while later, he came across the same painting in the home of an acquaintance, who tried to convince him that the subject was an ancestor who had served in Queen Elizabeth's court. Responding to this display of class-conscious malarkey, Gladstone muttered mockingly to himself, "A few pounds less and he would have been my ancestor."


-The Gneech
  • Current Mood
    curious curious