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B words

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1896.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 11:48 am Reply with quote

Babacoote n
The largest species of lemur.

Babbart n
An old word for a hare

Babbin n
A bundle of brushwood.

Babblative adj

Babelavante obs. n
One who makes feeble jokes

Babeship n

Babiana n
A genus of South African irises so called because their tuberous roots are eaten by baboons.

s: OED

1897.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 11:59 am Reply with quote

Bidgeebuckles n
A curse on your opponent's turn in a game of marbles or conkers.

Biggins n
Large dark patches of sweat under the arms. (Supposedly after Christopher Biggins, presenter of the TV show 'On Safari', who invariably sported them despite broadcasting from a studio jungle).

s: DPS

1898.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:04 pm Reply with quote

BOBFOC acronym

Body Off Baywatch, Face off Crimewatch

s: DPS

1899.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:11 pm Reply with quote

The word bonk was first used on Tiswas.

Originally used (because it's 'knob' backwards) as a euphemism for female genitalia, it rapidly evolved its present-day sense.

s: DPS

1900.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:11 pm Reply with quote

Boonshniggle adj

(SCOTS) Unbelievable.

1901.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:13 pm Reply with quote


(Cockney Rhyming slang : boracic lint/skint

1902.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:31 pm Reply with quote


1909.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 3:25 pm Reply with quote

batology n
the study of blackberries
s: OED

battologist n
someone who needlessly repeats the same thing

(From Greek battos, stammerer. According to Herodotus, the word comes from the name of the original stammerer, Battos, King of Cyrene, a Spartan who built the city on the advice of the Oracle at Delphi in 630 BC, and colonized it with people from the island of Thera. Not to be confused with Battos, a shepherd from the island of Pylos, who broke a promise to the god Mercury and was turned into a pumice stone. Julius Caesar also had a fool called Battos.
also battologize, battological)

battology n
pointless and tiresome repetition
s: OED

brattice vb
to line the sides of a coal-mine with planking.
s: OED

bullard n
someone who either keeps a bull, or enjoys bull-running
s: OED

1919.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 4:41 pm Reply with quote

ba - in Egyptian mythology the soul, symbolised by a bird, but also an obsolete word from the Old French baer, to open the mouth, meaning to kiss.

babbitt - a soft silver-coloured alloy of tin, copper an antimony, used to reduce friction on bearings - also used loosely as any antifricative metal. Used as a verb meaning to apply babbitt metal to something. Also used to describe an uncultivated conventional businessman or a philistine (taken from Sinclair Lewis's novel Babbitt)

babbittry - the behaviour and attitudes of babbits as a class, characterised by a striving for business and social success, conventionality, smugness, and a lack of interest in cultural matters; philistinism.

babirusa - a species of wild hog, sometimes called the hog deer. From the Malay babi, hog, and rusa, deer. Its upper tusks are of great length and curve backward from each jaw so as to resemble horns. It is a native of southeast Asia and East India.

Babism - From the Persian bab, a gate, so called because the founder of this religious faith claimed that no one could know God except through him. The pantheistic doctrine and principles of a religious sect founded in Persia in 1843 forbids begging, drinking alcohol, buying and selling slaves, and having more than one wife.

Source - Websters New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (pub 1979)

1920.  Sat Nov 22, 2003 4:42 pm Reply with quote

I didn't know that about bonk, Jack, but I like it.

1937.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 4:57 am Reply with quote


It's only one source: a just-about-to be-published book called 'The Dictionary of Playground Slang" by one Chris Lewis. Mind you, I can't find the word in any other dictionaries from where I sit.

I guess I should ask either Chris Tarrant or Lenny Henry whether it's really true and get it from the horse's mouth.

The other day Mrs JJ and I were at a celebrity dinner party and Jeremy Clarkson told me that 'Roger Mellie The Man on The Tellie' from Viz comic is based on Richard Whiteley of 'Countdown'. Great fact if true.

However, by an extraodinary coincidence I was emailed the following day by Chris Donald (the founder of Viz) and he told me it's not so. Roger Mellie is based on an amalgam of people including two local Geordie TV presenters called Mike Neville and George House and a couple of others from Chris' past.

Tant pis.

1938.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 5:05 am Reply with quote

Since this is the B words thread and baboons were mentioned earlier, thought you might enjoy this similar anecdote.

Several internet sites (Google it if you want to check) give the collective noun for a group of baboons as a flange. One of these was the OED online (at least it was two years ago) so it must be true, eh?

Not so, fellow toilers at the face of untruth, for it cometh from 'Gerald the Gorilla' an ancient 'Not the Nine O'Clock News' sketch.

If memory serves:

MEL: "Of course, in the beginning Gerald always wanted to revisit his old 'flange' of gorillas..."

ROWAN: (DRESSED AS GORILLA) "It's a 'whoop' Professor. A whoop. It's a flange of baboons for God's sake!"

Last edited by JumpingJack on Thu Nov 27, 2003 12:27 pm; edited 1 time in total

1955.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 10:08 am Reply with quote

As it happens, Jack, one of my best friends is a senior editor at the OED, and in fact was the managing editor for the Oxford Reference Dictionary (which is how come I happen to have a copy of that one), and I know that many lexicographers have a well-developed sense of humour, so it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that the entry for that was picked up from Not the Nine O'Clock News, if there was no other extant word for the same thing. We are currently trying to persuade him to insert the word 'cromulent' with the meaning of 'valid', because it comes in a Simpsons sketch.

1957.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 10:24 am Reply with quote

Fair enough.

Personally, I doubt the provenance of most collective nouns. Who uses these absurdly narrow designations in real life, I wonder?

There are several other collective nouns for baboons. One (otherwise rather impressive) site gives these: congress, flange, rumpus, tribe, troop .

1959.  Sun Nov 23, 2003 10:30 am Reply with quote

Enjoy a picture of a "Flange of Baboons" here:


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