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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:41 pm

• toxophilite •

Pronunciation: tahk-sah-fê-lait • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A devotee of archery, an archery enthusiast, an archery lover.

Notes: Today's word is an odd word because of the suffix -ite on the end. We have a whole series of words meaning "lover of" or "devotee of" containing the Greek word philos "loving, lover", but none with the additional suffix -ite: logophile, Francophile, zoophile. Why the odd suffix? Find out in the Word History. This word may also be used as an adjective; the noun is toxophily.

In Play: Today's Good Word handily replaces the English phrase 'archery lover': "The arrow protruding from the victim's back was a clue to investigators that the perpetrator was a toxophilite." However, remember it may be used adjectivally, too: "Archer Bowman challenged everyone at the garden party to a toxophilite competition in which the winner would get the quiver of the loser, filled with the loser's arrows."

Word History: Roger Ascham's Toxophilus, first published in 1545, defended archery against the claim that it was not a sport for an educated person. A toxophilite, then, referred originally to a follower of Toxophilus, the central character of the book, himself a devotee of archery. Ascham created Toxophilus from the Greek words toxon "bow" + filos "loving, lover". The suffix -ite was a common suffix referring to a follower of someone: Luddite, Mennonite, Trotskyite. The root of toxon, tek-/tok- "run, flow, hurry", did not make it to the Germanic languages such as English, but is prominent in the Baltic and Slavic languages, as Russian tok "(a) flow" and Lithuanian tekét "to run, flow" show. (We should thank Conita Benson, whether toxophile or not, for discovering and recommending today's Good if obscure Word.)
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Re: Toxophilite

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:41 pm

In Christian following, St. Ives is the patron saint of archery.
Curious name as well.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: Toxophilite

Postby MTC » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:37 pm

According to my researches, Toxophilus "was (not only) a treatise on archery but it was was also an argument for writing in the vernacular: in English. You could say he (Roger Ascham) shot two birds with one arrow."

A Wikipedia article expands (or "contracts?") on this "point:"

As well as being the earliest printed book in English about archery, Toxophilus is also important as a model for how books of instruction could be written in English (rather than Latin) and how English could be written in a clear style, for as he remarks in his preface "To All Gentle Men and Yeomen of England": "Many English writers have not done so, but using strange words, as Latin, French, and Italian, do make all things dark and hard."
So, unlike other scholars writing in English at the time, such as Thomas Elyot and John Cheke, he avoided neologisms and flowery classical terms, and "succeeded in making his English work as a vehicle of wide communication ... Some of the passages describing the environment (for example, the way in which the wind could interfere with the aim of an expert archer) were vivid and at the time unparalleled in English writing."


"Toxophilus is written in the form of a dialogue between two characters, Philologus ("a lover of study") and Toxophilus ("a lover of the bow"), who is also a scholar and defends archery as a noble pastime.

(See Wikpedia article above.)

Here's a sample of the dialog:

Phi. What is the chief point in shooting, that every man laboureth to come to ?

Tox. To hit the mark.

Phi. How many things are required to make a man evermore hit the mark ?

Tox. Two.

Phi. Which two?

Tox. Shooting straight, and keeping of a length.

( ... ook01.html)

By the way, findng no synonyms for "toxophilte," I propose
"Sagittarian" after Sagittarius the Archer from Roman mythology, and also from the same etymological "quiver," so to speak. Sagittarius (♐) (Greek: Τοξότης, "Toxotes", Latin: "Sagittarius") In case you've forgotten, Sagittarius was the centaur with a bow and arrow, later an astrological sign. "Sagittarian" already refers to one under the Sign of Sagittarius, but I propose an additional adjectival sense. "Sagittarian" would join "sagittate," a related word (adj) from Biology. "Having the shape of an arrowhead: sagittate leaves; sagittate shells. [Latin sagitta, arrow + -ate.] "

Bowing out, now...

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