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BAHUVRIHI

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BAHUVRIHI

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Nov 19, 2005 11:53 pm

• bahuvrihi •

Pronunciation: bah-hu-vri-hi • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A compound noun or adjective comprising two words, A and B, which means "having a B that is A", such as high-potency in high-potency vitamins. A is usually an adjective and B, a noun, though A may be a noun, as in egghead.

Notes: Bahuvrihis differ from other compounds in that they have no head. In the compound birdhouse, house is the head and bird, the modifier, because a birdhouse is a house. But a halfwit is not half a wit but rather someone who has half a wit, making halfwit a bahuvrihi. Bahuvrihi compounds are found in all languages. In Greek we find rododaktylos "rosy-fingered" (dawn), in Latin magnanimus "great-minded". They are very common in English: hatchback and Red Sox are bahuvrihis; so are tenderfoot, highbrow, and longhair.

In Play: Let's say someone calls you "dogbreath". You could get angry and let them win the verbal duel with this blunt challenge. Alternatively, you could parry and thrust with this line: "Is that the best bahuvrihi you can come up with?" Then claim, "Touché," and walk away, leaving the aggressor in mental and spiritual disarray with no dictionary to shield himself.

Word History: Today's word is itself a Sanskrit bahuvrihi, from bahuvrihih "having much rice", made up of bahu- "much" + vrihih "rice". Although the original meaning was "having much rice", it was also used in the sense "rich". (Luis Alejandro Apiolaza may not be rich in rice but he is rich in fascinating words like this one, which his alter ego, Uncronopio, brought up in the Alpha Agora.)
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Postby Grogie » Sun Nov 20, 2005 5:53 am

An absolutely astounding word!
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:17 am

Those old Sanskrit grammarians, in particular Pāṇini, were the bees' knees....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Stargzer » Mon Nov 21, 2005 2:03 am

M. Henri Day wrote: . . . the bees' knees....

Henri


along with "the cat's whiskers" (possibly from the use of these in radio crystal sets),


By way of clarification:

cat's whisker

• noun a fine adjustable wire in a crystal radio receiver.


No cats were harmed in the making of crystal radio sets. I made one in Cub Scouts back in the 1950s.
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:53 pm

Stargzer wrote:...

No cats were harmed in the making of crystal radio sets. I made one in Cub Scouts back in the 1950s.


I don't know, Larry. When those disclaimers (no anti-personnel use of phosphorus, ect) start to come in, I get suspicious....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Nov 22, 2005 10:14 pm

I did once use a BB gun to disabuse a local feline of the notion that it should be dining on the avians who frequented my birdfeeder. Hunting over a baited field is not sporting for man or beast.
Regards//Larry

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Postby gailr » Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:48 am

You are assuming that felines play by the Marquis of Queensbury rules. They do not.

My former neighbors had a yard birdfeeder; I let my cat out now and then. Their daughter would bring him home, draped over her arms like a boneless sweater, with a look on her face as if she was returning Machine Gun Kelly to a halfway house, from whence he had been sprung to de-bird the entire city, see. As he was declawed and felt that sitting was as strenuous as life should get, I didn't think they had much of a case. But I kept him in, where he was happy to recline on top of a large finch cage. He never did much more than look at them, upside down, while they casually flitted about, right under his snoozing nose.

I never tried using him as an aerial, although he would have probably held the pose... He was the cat's pajamas of cats.
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Postby Stargzer » Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:12 pm

gailr wrote:You are assuming that felines play by the Marquis of Queensbury rules. They do not.

My former neighbors had a yard birdfeeder; I let my cat out now and then. . . . But I kept him in, where he was happy to recline on top of a large finch cage. . . . He was the cat's pajamas of cats.
-gailr


THE BIRD LOVER

Keep you cat inside your house,
And I'll stroke his fur and give him a mouse,
But let him loose on my feeding birds
And I'll beat out of him whey and curds.
If into an ornithophile you probe
You'll find the sleeping aelurophobe.

--Ogden Nash, The Old Dog Barks Backwards


And fortunately, I trust, he did not end up as a pair of slippers, which fate has been threatened to our field-bred Chocolate Lab of late. :x
Regards//Larry

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Postby M. Henri Day » Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:47 pm

Thought I recognised Larry's Ogden Nash quote !...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Stargzer » Mon Nov 28, 2005 1:28 pm

M. Henri Day wrote:Thought I recognised Larry's Ogden Nash quote !...

Henri


It's from "The Old Dog Barks Backwards." Having no cats, it's obvious I'm a fan of doggerel.
Regards//Larry

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Dec 04, 2005 11:27 am

Stargzer wrote:
... Having no cats, it's obvious I'm a fan of doggerel.


Yeats rates, but liquor's quicker.


Not that I want to break anything....

Henri

PS : Some say the original begins with «Candy is dandy» instead, but that's really doggerel !...
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Stargzer » Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:37 am

M. Henri Day wrote: . . .
Yeats rates, but liquor's quicker.


Not that I want to break anything....

Henri

PS : Some say the original begins with «Candy is dandy» instead, but that's really doggerel !...


Here, complete with layout, is Nash's original.

A version on buttons and posters from the wanton 1960s of my youth goes:

Candy is dandy
But sex won't rot your teeth.


And considering the season, I just found a topical one . . .

Then there's the inimitable Dorothy Parker:

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most;
Three, I'm under the table;
Four, I'm under the Host!



(There seem to be a couple of versions of that one floating about the Web. I'd like to find the original source to cite.)
Regards//Larry

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-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Postby M. Henri Day » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:18 am

Stargzer wrote:...

And considering the season, I just found a topical one. ...


Non-leaded paint, I do hope....

Henri

PS : While the inimitable Ms Parker is one of my favourites, experience has taught me that she was a lousy optometrist....
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