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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:37 pm

• donnybrook •

Pronunciation: dah-ni-bruk • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A huge brawl, a riot, an uproar.

Notes: Donnybrook is a sterling example of a lexical orphan, a word with no derivational relatives. Since it is a compound made up of easily recognizable components, we are left with little to say about it.

In Play: We generally associate donnybrooks with sporting events: "A donnybrook broke out among the fans at the football game when the visiting team pulled out a victory in the final seconds." However, this word is not immune to metaphor: "This last presidential campaign proved to be an advertising donnybrook in the swing states."

Word History: This word has an eponym in the Donnybrook Fair once held outside Dublin annually, known for its drunken brawls. The fair was banned in 1855. The word originated in an Irish Gaelic phrase, Domhnach Broc, meaning "Church of (Saint) Broc". Broc was one of seven daughters of Dallbronach of Deece, County Meath, mentioned in two manuscripts of the day. She was supposedly beatified for building a monastery near the Donnybrook fairground, a monastery long since replaced by a graveyard. Domhnach comes from Latin (Dies) Dominica "(day) of the Lord", an adjective derived from dominus "lord, head of the household". This word comes from domus "house". An interesting journey, all said and done, for today's Good Word. (Let's tip our hats in thanks to Albert Skiles for suggesting today's Good Word, lest an e-donnybrook break out.)
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Postby MTC » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:50 am

'Twas Tommy Makem, it 'twas, a fair Son of Erin, who sang the ballad, The Humors of Donnybrook Fair. There's no word 'a brawls, but sin 'a plenty. Here's the whole nine (or six as the case may be) yards:


To Donnybrook steer all you sons of Parnassus
Poor painters, poor poets, poor newsmen and knaves
To see what the fun is that all fun surpasses
The sorrows and sadness of green Erin’s slaves
Oh Donnybrook Jewel! Full of mirth is your quiver
Where all flock from Dublin to gape and to stare
At two elegant bridges without e’er a river
So success to the humours of Donnybrook Fair

Oh you lads that are witty, from famed Dublin city
And you that in pastime take any delight
To Donnybrook fly, for the time’s drawing nigh
When fat pigs are hunted and lean cobblers fight
When maidens so swift run for a new shift
Men muffled in sacks, for a shirt they race there
There jockeys well booted and horses sure-footed
All keep up the humours of Donnybrook Fair

The mason does come with his line and his plumb
The sawyer and carpenter, brothers in chips
There are carvers and guilders and all sorts of builders
With soldiers from barracks and sailors from ships
There confectioners, cooks and the printers of books
There stampers of linen and weavers repair
There widows and maids and all sorts of trades
Go join in the humours of Donnybrook Fair

There tinkers and nailers and beggars and tailors
And singers of ballads and girls of the sieve
With Barrack street rangers, the known ones and strangers
And many that no one can tell how they live
There horsemen and walkers and likewise fruit-hawkers
And swindlers the devil himself that would dare
With pipers and fiddlers and dandlers and diddlers
All met in the humours of Donnybrook Fair

‘Tis there are dogs dancing and wild beasts a-prancing
With neat bits of painting, red, yellow and gold
Toss players and scramblers and showmen and gamblers
Pick-pockets in plenty, the young and the old
There are brewers and bakers and jolly shoemakers
With butchers and porters and men that cut hair
There are montebanks grinning, while others are sinning
To keep up the humours of Donnybrook Fair

Brisk lads and young lassies can fill up their glasses
With whiskey and send a full bumper around
Jig it off in a tent till their money’s all spent
And spin like a top till they rest on the ground
Oh Donnybrook capers to sweet cat-gut scrapers
They bother the vapours and drive away care
And what is more glorious, there’s naught more uproarious
Hurrah for the humours of Donnybrook Fair


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Postby bamaboy56 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:23 am

What a great poem! Thanks! I especially liked the reference to "sweet cat-gut scrapers". I know several fiddle players. Can't wait to use this term with them.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I'm going to change myself. -- Rumi

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