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Postiche

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Postiche

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:17 pm

• postiche •


Pronunciation: pahs-teeshHear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, adjective

Meaning: 1. A small hairpiece to cover up a bald spot, false hair, a toupee. 2. A sham, something that is false or counterfeit, a fake. 3. (Architecture) A mismatched decoration added later.

Notes: When you are in posh company and the words fake and counterfeit are too pedestrian to use, today's Good Word will fill in glamorously. It is French, after all! It is so recent that it has retained its French pronunciation and hasn't had time to create a family of derivations. But beware! Do not confuse this word with pastiche "hodgepodge".

In Play: We don't often hear today's word used in the sense of a wig, but when we wish to emphasize a hairpiece's intent to deceive, it fits perfectly: "Norman French wears a cheap postiche, one that is so obvious it should be embarrassing." We often don't think of our own fakery, all the places our word would fit today: "Her library contained only postiches, fake book spines resembling real books. How pretentious!"

Word History: This borrowed French word came to French from Italian posticcio. Posticcio is based on posto "place, position" from Latin positus, the past participle of ponere "to place". There should have been an intervening Vulgar (Street) Latin word posticius between positus and posticcio, but if such a word existed, we have no written evidence of it. Ponere, as was mentioned in the Word History of entrepot, is believed to be the remnants of an old compound (a)po-sinere "to leave off" comprising apo- "off, away" + sinere "to leave", of obscure origins. The loss of the initial A may be explained by 'aphesis', a process by which an initial unaccented vowel is dropped. A current example from English is opossum, which is pronounced 'possum in some regions.
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Re: Postiche

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:24 am

Postiche is just the word I need at the moment. Our church is making extensive modifications and additions to the building. I feel they are not in concert with the original buildings but I didn’t have an adjective for it. Now I do. The expanded buildings will be postiche.
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Re: Postiche

Postby call_copse » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:17 am

Surely a pastiche is a sincere imitation of a period's or artist's style rather than a hodgepodge?
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Re: Postiche

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:35 pm

Doc's example of fake library books made only of spines
reminded me of a tour I was on in England, Warwick
Castle. I volunteered to push a lady in a wheel chair
to meet the rest of the group who had to go up some
stairs. I pushed the lady down a hall way and the guide
opened a door where we were met by the group, mouths
agape as we came thru a fake door in a library made up
of just such postiche volumes.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Postiche

Postby Slava » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:12 pm

call_copse wrote:Surely a pastiche is a sincere imitation of a period's or artist's style rather than a hodgepodge?

I think of it more as a mock up, a cheap imitation.
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Re: Postiche

Postby MTC » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:07 am

A "pastiche" is both an imitation and a hodgepodge. The two senses of "pastiche" with examples are discussed here:

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Pastiche
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Re: Postiche

Postby call_copse » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:00 am

There you go, I had never in my born days heard of the (clearly original) hodge-podge meaning. You learn something new every day.

Still, I'd dispute my original meaning being a mock-up or ersatz imitation. I'd personally say pastiche is nearer the flip side of parody i.e. where a parody extracts the Michael a pastiche is an homage - it may be good or bad, but is a tribute to the essence of something.
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Re: Postiche

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:46 pm

In the literary world a pastiche may also be sort of a parody or an imitation. For example the image of Sam Spade as a tough talking guy has produced many pastiches. Some have even done this of Shakespeare and of Sherlock Holmes.
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Re: Postiche

Postby MTC » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:54 am

On the difference between a pastiche and a parody,
Mel Brooks' comedies Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein are mixtures of stock elements from the original Westerns and Horror Films, respectively, e.g., sheriffs, Indians, bad guys, castles, hunchbacks, etc. They are pastiches (mixtures) which make us laugh.

Swift's A Modest Proposal, on the other hand, is a parody (imitation of the style) of the well-reasoned essay, but there is nothing funny about it.
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Re: Postiche

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:34 pm

How often might faux and postiche be interchangeable? One meaning of postiche is a faux hairpiece....
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