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Sesquipedalianism

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costean
1357469.  Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:54 am Reply with quote

Wiki wrote:
Sesquipedalianism is a linguistic style that involves the use of long words. The Roman poet Horace coined the phrase sesquipedalia verba in his Ars Poetica. It is a compound of sesqui, "one and a half", and pes, "foot", a reference to meter (not words a foot long). The earliest recorded usage in English of sesquipedalian is in 1656, and of sesquipedalianism, 1863.


ie expatiative verbiage, garrulous logorrhoea and grandiloquent prolixity (that’s enough periphrasis - Ed).

George Orwell mocked this style in Politics and the English Language (1946) by taking verse (9:11) from the book of Ecclesiastes in the KJV of the Bible:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

and rewriting it as:

Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

 
costean
1357470.  Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:58 am Reply with quote

Let’s start with the ‘Super’ word – you all know it – supercalifragisomethingetc. Now, where did it originate?

Not with Mary P or Disney to be more precise or to be even more precise the composers of the song, The Sherman Brothers. Disney were actually sued by songwriters Gloria Parker and Barney Young who claimed copyright infringement of a 1949 song of their own called something remarkably similar. As the OED entry notes "in view of earlier oral uses of the word sworn to in affidavits and dissimilarity between the songs the judge ruled against the plaintiffs."

Ben Zimmer, language columnist for The Wall Street Journal, actually manged to track down a written citation dating to 1931 from Syracuse University's student newspaper, The Daily Orange, which you can read here.

Proper research – here

My contribution - just a few minutes spent playing with my google.

 
tetsabb
1357475.  Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:24 am Reply with quote

May I insert one of my favourite jokes at this point?

Mahatma Gandhi was a very holy man, who had terrible problems with his feet, as he wore no shoes. His health was poor because of his diet, and his breath could be unpleasant for the same reason.

He was a super-calloused fragile mystic, plagued with halitosis.

Aye thang yew.
😉

 
Alexander Howard
1357484.  Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:49 am Reply with quote

I have to recall the famous headline in the Scottish Sun in 2000 after Caledonian Thistle scored an unexpected 2-1 victory over mighty Glasgow Celtic: 'Super Caley Go Ballistic; Celtic are Atrocious'

 
suze
1357495.  Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:15 pm Reply with quote

It was actually 3-1, but that was indeed the headline. There are brief highlights of the game here.

It is claimed in many places on the Interwebs that - whether knowingly or not - the The Sun's headline writer was channeling an earlier headline in the Liverpool Echo.

The claim is that Liverpool's Ian Callaghan had given a virtuoso performance in a win against a poor Queens Park Rangers, and the Echo had used "Suoer Cally goes ballistic, QPR atrocious". Most pieces which make this assertion appear to rely on an article in The Guardian (12 Dec 2008), but the writer of that piece can be no more specific than "the 1970s" for when the Echo used that line. Neither does the Echo itself shout about using the line, which it surely would.

I think I may call bullshit here. Ian Callaghan left Liverpool FC in the summer of 1978, so it has to have been before then - but there is no citation for the figurative use of the expression "to go ballistic" earlier than 1981 (see footnote).

First citations for idiomatic expressions very often are from newspapers, and it seems unlikely that the OED has totally missed so high profile a newspaper as the Liverpool Echo, especially when the supposed headline has been mentioned in The Guardian.


Footnote: 1. The OED has a literal citation from 1966 concerning an actual missile which exploded before reaching its target. There is no suggestion that Mr Callaghan has ever been an actual missile.

2. Wiktionary cites an American novel which it claims as Enemy lover (1964) as using the expression, but this is spurious. The novel is on Google Books, and it is actually called Possessing the witch and was published in 2015.

 
costean
1357549.  Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:33 am Reply with quote

Omphaloskepsis

Quote:
Football, tennis, and even cinemas by barbarians from the West has tended to lower the popularity of omphaloskepsis by encouraging extravert types of recreation.
The Times of India (Bombay, Ind.), 17 Feb. 1928

That’s navel-gazing to you and me.

Quote:
Definition - contemplation of one's navel as an aid to meditation; also: lack of will to move, exert, or change

Quote:
1925, from the Greek - omphalos - literally "navel” + Greek - skepsis, from skeptesthai "to reflect, look, view" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Also omphaloscopy (1931). Used earlier in the sense of "navel-gazer" were omphalopsychic (1892) and Omphalopsychite (1882) "one of a body of monks who believed the deep contemplation of the navel induced communion with God," a derisive name given to the Hesychasts.

https://www.etymonline.com/word/omphaloskepsis#etymonline_v_31266

Unless one is particularly good at Greek it would seem that one would need to carry around a copy of Liddell & Scott in order to be able to understand The Times of India.

Note to editor: we’ll have a little less of the barbarians as well, mate.

 
Alexander Howard
1357563.  Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:29 pm Reply with quote

Though art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus.

 
costean
1357680.  Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:59 pm Reply with quote

Trust Shakey to use that one; Joyce managed to crowbar it into Ulysses too. A quite interesting little factlet about H is that it is the longest word in the English Language which has alternate consonants and vowels. Also, don’t bother memorising it for Scrabble, the board isn’t wide enough.

Quote:
An anagram of honorificabilitudinitatibus is Hi ludi, F. Baconis nati, tuiti orbi. In English, that’s “These plays, F. Bacon’s offspring, are preserved for the world”. This gem of misapplied cryptanalysis was presented by Sir Edwin Lawrence-Durning in 1910 in his book Bacon is Shakespeare as a message inserted in the text by Francis Bacon, who (as some are convinced) actually wrote the plays usually said to be by William Shakespeare. This is all nonsense, of course — as every schoolboy knows, they were really written by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford.

But the same set of letters, tested in the common tongue, can be read as Inhibit in fabulous, idiotic art; Inhabit furious libido in attic; Habitual if ionic distribution; and Hi! fabulous tit in idiotic brain. What would Sir Edwin have made of all these?

https://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-hon1.htm

 
bobwilson
1357867.  Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:23 pm Reply with quote

costean wrote:
Wiki wrote:
Sesquipedalianism is a linguistic style that involves the use of long words. The Roman poet Horace coined the phrase sesquipedalia verba in his Ars Poetica. It is a compound of sesqui, "one and a half", and pes, "foot", a reference to meter (not words a foot long). The earliest recorded usage in English of sesquipedalian is in 1656, and of sesquipedalianism, 1863.


ie expatiative verbiage, garrulous logorrhoea and grandiloquent prolixity (that’s enough periphrasis - Ed).

George Orwell mocked this style in Politics and the English Language (1946) by taking verse (9:11) from the book of Ecclesiastes in the KJV of the Bible:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

and rewriting it as:

Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.


Call me weird, but as they stand I honestly found the second one easier to understand than the first and got a much clearer message from it. The first one seems to be edging towards a poetic metre (which would make it more memorable) but has failed to achieve this.

Frankly, though, the much shorter

"we are all subject to time and chance"

would have been more than enough.

 
costean
1358194.  Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:19 am Reply with quote

The first is verging on (if not actually) poetic and you have succinctly discerned its meaning. Orwell also extracted its meaning, but used far too many long words to do it – which was his point.

To me the second was also the easier to understand and I have to confess that I had to read both a couple times before I understood his point. So, you are not at all weird or just as weird as me…

 
Jenny
1358204.  Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:52 am Reply with quote

Maybe it's because I'm a poet, but I found the first not only easier to understand but more mellifluous and memorable.

 
costean
1358220.  Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:40 pm Reply with quote

The language of the KJV resonates, even with philistines such as me, so there is still hope...

 

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