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PETARD

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PETARD

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Sep 14, 2005 10:47 pm

• petard •

Pronunciation: pê-tah(r)dHear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A bomb, especially one used for blowing up doors and gates or blowing holes in city walls. 2. A firecracker that explodes with a loud report.

Notes: It is common to repeat Shakespeare's famous metaphor from Hamlet, '(For tis the sport to haue the enginer) Hoist with his owne petar[d]', in the sense of "to be damaged by one's own schemes". However, our conversations have led us to believe that many are not sure exactly what a petard is. The image is probably funnier than most think. The person in charge of the petards is the petardeer.

In Play: Remember that a petard is an explosive device, so it has many applications outside the Shakespearean cliché: "The petards of the local youth were the bane of rural mailboxes." This leaves plenty of room for creative metaphors: "Lillian's comment, that she hadn't had easy access to a horse in ages, was an unexpected petard that left all the mouths in the room gaping."

Word History: Today's Good Word came to us from French pétard "firecracker" in the guise of itself. If you think the true meaning of the idiom mentioned in the Notes is funny, you will love basic idea of the firecracker in French. Pétard is the Old French verb peter "to break wind" (in the smelly sense) plus the suffix -ard often found in pejorative words such as coward, wizard, buzzard, drunkard, laggard. The French word comes from Latin pedere "to break wind", itself related to pediculus "louse", from which English gets its word pedicular "lousy".
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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:20 am

I was going to say that, that's what petard(o) has always sounded to me like. Portuguese peidar, Spanish pedar, French péter and Italian puzzare "to stink". I was right after all.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:26 pm

Let us hope that humanity can decide to retire its smelliest, loudest, and most damaging petards by fulfilling its obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Three and one half decades have now passed since that treaty came into force, but precious little has happened to bring us nearer that essential goal....

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Une petite énigme

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:47 pm

The residents of my hometown, Lewisburg, PA, are deeply puzzled as to why all French-speaking visitors to our town simply must take a photograph of the sign on our pet supply store: "PET POTPOURRI". Is this mystery somehow related to today's Good Word?
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Re: Une petite énigme

Postby frank » Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:22 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote:The residents of my hometown, Lewisburg, PA, are deeply puzzled as to why all French-speaking visitors to our town simply must take a photograph of the sign on our pet supply store: "PET POTPOURRI". Is this mystery somehow related to today's Good Word?


Just a reading suggestion, which might clarify a lot:
François Caradec, Jean Nohain, Le Pétomane, J.-J. Pauvert, 1965, nouvelle édition, Mazarin, 2000.
A lovely book about an extraordinary professional...

Or, for a quicker reference, see here

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Postby M. Henri Day » Fri Sep 16, 2005 1:37 pm

it's all in the ... uh ... mind !...

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Sep 19, 2005 4:45 pm

From Cassell's French Dictionary for those unfamiliar with la langue Française:

pet n.m. (vulg.) Fart. (pop.) Ça ne vaut pas un pet (de lapin), it is worthless. [lapin = rabbit] Pet d'âne (Bot.) oropordon. [sic] [Onopordon n: a genus of Eurasian herbs of the family Compositae with prickly foliage and large purplish flowers [syn: Onopordum, genus Onopordum, Onopordon, genus Onopordon]

pot-pourri n.m. (pl. pots-pourris [pot]

pot n.m. Pot; jug, tankard, flagon, can, jar; . . . pot pourri, hotchpotch, medley, olio, jar filled with all sorts of flowers, micellaneous stew; . . .

pourri a. (fem. -ie) Rotten, rotted, putrid, bad. Oeuf pourri, addle(d) egg; temps pourri, muggy weather. --n.m. The rotten part; rottenness.


So, one can conjure up in one's own mind a specific type of rotten pot . . . :shock:

Would this be an example of Frenglish? :)
Regards//Larry

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Re: Une petite énigme

Postby Stargzer » Mon Sep 19, 2005 5:26 pm

frank wrote:
Dr. Goodword wrote:The residents of my hometown, Lewisburg, PA, are deeply puzzled as to why all French-speaking visitors to our town simply must take a photograph of the sign on our pet supply store: "PET POTPOURRI". Is this mystery somehow related to today's Good Word?


Just a reading suggestion, which might clarify a lot:
François Caradec, Jean Nohain, Le Pétomane, J.-J. Pauvert, 1965, nouvelle édition, Mazarin, 2000.
A lovely book about an extraordinary professional...

Or, for a quicker reference, see here

Frank


One of the characters played by Mel Brooks in the movie Blazing Saddles was Gov. William J. LePetomaine . . .
Regards//Larry

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Postby KatyBr » Tue Sep 20, 2005 3:00 am

This Pet pot pourrie is no worse that the Japanese putting out a line of Trousers called trim-pecker pants. We get each other's language's deepest connotations only by immersion. Even other English-speaking countries have widely varying idioms, you do not want to go to Australia (for example)and tell them what we eat for Thanksgiving. At least not what we do to the Turkey....

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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:24 am

(who is a closet anglo anyway)

Hahahaha, get out of here! The closet is too small for both of us.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:40 am

Brazilian dude wrote:... The closet is too small for both of us.

Remember that a «closet» originally referred to a small private chamber (room), and that «coming out of the closet» signified doing - or at least acknowledging - in public what previously one had done only in private, but not necessarily in the place where linens were stored. Most «closets», in this sense, would have room for two, but not, perhaps, so many more - perhaps the origin of the expression «three's a crowd»....

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Postby KatyBr » Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:47 am

Brazilian dude wrote:
(who is a closet anglo anyway)

Hahahaha, get out of here! The closet is too small for both of us.

Brazilian dude

So BD, who else here is pretending to not be an Anglo?

Kt
(perhaps I was too hasty in saying BD was "good" at English language idiom?)
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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:33 pm

It was a failed attempt at associating getting out of here, an expression of disbelief, and coming out of a closet, besides its figurative implication, and living in a one-horse town.

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Postby Stargzer » Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:32 pm

KatyBr wrote:This . . . We get each other's language's deepest connotations only by immersion. Even other English-speaking countries have widely varying idioms, you do not want to go to Australia (for example)and tell them what we eat for Thanksgiving. At least not what we do to the Turkey.... . . .


Ah, yes. In the early days of The Other Board we had discussions about the difference between "knock up" and "fanny pack" in the US and the UK, the latter taking on a third meaning in the US if one remembers that the definitions of "fanny" are diametrically opposed on opposite sides of The Pond . . . :shock:
Regards//Larry

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