March 24th, 2006

Party Guy

Happy Birthday, trejaan!

Instead of Forgotten English, today you get the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day!

The Word of the Day for March 24 is:

macaroni • \mak-uh-ROH-nee\ • noun
1 : pasta made from semolina and shaped in the form of slender tubes
2 *a : a member of a class of traveled young Englishmen of the late 18th and early 19th centuries who affected foreign ways b : an affected young man : fop

Example sentence:
"If he . . . talks about London and Lord March, and White's, and Almack's, with the air of a macaroni, I don't think we need like him much the less." (William Makepeace Thackeray, The Virginians)

Did you know?
As you may have suspected, the "macaroni" in the song "Yankee Doodle" is not the familiar food. The feather in Yankee Doodle's cap apparently makes him a macaroni in the now rare "fop" or "dandy" sense. The sense appears to have originated with a club established in London by a group of young, well-traveled Englishmen in the 1760s. The founders prided themselves on their appearance, sense of style, and manners, and they chose the name Macaroni Club to indicate their worldliness. Because macaroni was, at the time, a new and rather exotic food in England, the name was meant to demonstrate how stylish the club's members were. The members were themselves called "macaronis," and eventually "macaroni" became synonymous with "dandy" and "fop."

* Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

I always wondered about that "macaroni" line. I pretty much just assumed that the Yankee Doodle Dandy was insane or something.

-The Gneech
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