June 14th, 2005


Today's Forgotten English

Corpulence, owing to plentiful eating. A corpulent person.
--Alexander Warrack's Scots Dialect Dictionary, 1911

When he who retains a good appetite complains of want of health, especially of anything that might indicate a dropsical habit, it is sometimes sarcastically said that he seems to have the bannock-hive; from bannock [an oatcake] and hive, swelling.
--John Jamieson's Etymological Scottish Dictionary, 1808

Death of Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton (1874-1936)
The rotund English author and illustrator showed no signs of being embarrassed by his weight and would sometimes joke about it self-effacingly. "Just the other day in the Underground," he once quipped, "I had the pleasure of offering my seat to three ladies."

I rather think that "dropsical" needs an entry of its own!

(For the record, "dropsical" is an archaic term meaning "associated with dropsy," which is edema, or swelling due to excess fluid collecting in body cavities. Don't you hate it when you look up a word, only to have the definition be another word you have to look up?)

-The Gneech
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    Dolphins -- "So Long and Thanks For All the Fish" (IMH)