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692172.  Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:28 am Reply with quote

Steven indicated that mtesis (sp?) was a word that contained another word in it "abso fucking lutely" as an example. I can't find this, or anything else as "one fo the only words in English that begins with "mt."


692173.  Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:42 am Reply with quote

I think the word is tmesis rather than mtesis - but I don't think there can be many words in English that begin with 'tm'.

692232.  Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:48 am Reply with quote

"tmesis" is defined in the OED as

"The separation of the elements of a compound word by the interposition of another word or words. (Often a reversion to the earlier uncompounded structure.)"

It gives an alternative spelling of "timesis".

It gives the following quotations:
1586 DAY Eng. Secretary II. (1625) 83 Timesis or Diacope, a diuision of a word compound into two parts, as, What might be soeuer vnto a man pleasing,..for, whatsoeuer might be, etc.

1678 PHILLIPS (ed. 4), Tmesis,..a figure of Prosody, wherein a compounded word is, as it were, cut asunder, and divided into two parts by some other word which is interposed, as Septem Subjecta Trioni, for Subjecta Septemtrioni.

1844 Proc. Philol. Soc. I. 265 Though the constituent parts of compound terms may be disjoined by tmesis, the elements of truly simple words never are.

1889 Athenĉum 23 Mar. 373/1 Forgive the quaint tmesis of his opening line:How bright the chit and chat!

The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar (Sylvia Chalker and Edmund Weiner. Oxford University Press, 1998. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed 4 April 2010) has:

"tmesis (Pronounced /t'miss/. Plural tmeses ). The separation of parts of a word by an intervening word or words.

"This is not a very productive operation in English, being largely confined to the insertion of swearwords for greater emphasis, as in I can''t find it any-blooming-where.

"The phenomenon is now usually described by using INFIX."

692261.  Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:48 am Reply with quote

And TMESIS is indeed one of just two words permissible in Scrabble which begins with TM-. The other is the plural TMESES (TMESISES is not allowed).

There are no permissible words beginning MT-.

692533.  Sun Apr 04, 2010 9:38 pm Reply with quote


692838.  Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:51 am Reply with quote

Spike Milligan wrote:
Major Dennis Bloodnok MT MT MT MT
What are all those MTs for?
There's sixpence back on each of them!

692867.  Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:23 am Reply with quote


692882.  Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:38 am Reply with quote

zomgmouse wrote:

Abso-bloody-lutely rude and wrong, wrong, wrong - oops that was a diacope.


692942.  Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:56 am Reply with quote

(I know it's not t-bloo-fucking-dy-mesis. Don't worry.)

693166.  Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:20 am Reply with quote

I hate those tmesis tpesis

693278.  Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:23 am Reply with quote

Scunthorpe is one of the few words that you can say without rebuke which contains c**t Ithough I am certain QIers could find others.

693301.  Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:45 am Reply with quote

I can say the word "cunt" without major rebuke.

693608.  Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:53 pm Reply with quote

As in 'cuntstable', I presume?

Hans Mof
693610.  Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:02 pm Reply with quote

Are there actually English tmeses other than (expletive) infixations?
German, having separable verbs, is stuffed with them. I can't think of any non-jocular use in English, though.

693617.  Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:23 pm Reply with quote

Zebra57 wrote:
Scunthorpe is one of the few words that you can say without rebuke which contains c**t Ithough I am certain QIers could find others.

The only other one of which I can think is cuntline. This is defined as "the space between the bilges of two casks stowed side by side" (the bilge is the fat bit of the barrel). If one stacks barrels such that the centre of a barrel in the upper row is above the space between barrels in the lower row, this is called "stowing bilge and cuntline".

Apparently this improbable word is also used for the spiral space between the strands of a rope; the OED knows not the etymology.

Hans Mof wrote:
Are there actually English tmeses other than (expletive) infixations?

Not very many, certainly. There are a handful of jocular but non-expletive examples - "edumacation" is not uncommon, for instance, and I've occasionally heard verbs jocularly used in the manner of a German separable verb. (I recall the Prof once - slightly pointedly - using "up-to-sum" after a colleague had used the dreadful "in upsum". He was probably joking, but you never quite knew with him.)


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