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NABOB

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NABOB

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed May 09, 2012 10:41 pm

• nabob •

Pronunciation: nay-bahb • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A governor or deputy governor of a town or district in India under the Mogul Empire. 2. A prominent, wealthy, and powerful person.

Notes: Vice President Spiro Agnew probably uttered the most famous example of today's word when, on November 13, 1969 in Des Moines, Iowa, he called the US press corps "nattering nabobs of negativism". Natter means simply "to chatter" or "to grumble." The phrase was actually written by former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, who was then a speech writer for President Nixon.

In Play: Because of the humor associated with today's word, a minor industry producing derivations of it has grown up over the years: a nabobery is a place frequented by nabobs, nabobical is the adjective meaning "pertaining to a nabob", while nabobish means "rather like a nabob," as does its adverb, nabobishly. Nabobism is great wealth and luxury, and the class of all nabobs is nabobery.

Word History: Today's word was borrowed from Hindi nawab or nabab. The Indians borrowed their word from Arabic nuwwab, the plural of na'ib "representative", the active participle of the verb naba "to represent". An interesting twist of this word is that it came to be the mispronounced name of the exclusive neighborhood of the nabobs of San Francisco, now known simply as Nob Hill. Hobbing with nobs like these could do wonders for your career. This word is unrelated to hobnob. (Let me take this opportunity to thank the Good Word editors for the outstanding job they have been doing for five years now: Paul Ogden, Lucijano Eduardo de Oliveira, and Mary Jane Stoneburg. I assume full responsibility for any errors that escape their scrutiny.)
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Postby Philip Hudson » Wed May 09, 2012 11:44 pm

Didn't Cousin Minnie Pearl have an Uncle Nabob?
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu May 10, 2012 11:38 am

Don't remember, but was interested to learn
Nob Hill gets its derivation from this word.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Mon May 14, 2012 12:58 pm

Philip H, you are correct. Minnie Pearl had an Uncle Nabob as well as another relative she just called "Brother". The thing I remember most about both fellers is that she always depicted them as being not real smart but wise at the same time. Funny what sticks in your mind sometimes.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Tue May 15, 2012 12:09 pm

They wuz all from Grinder's Switch.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Sat May 19, 2012 9:40 pm

Philip H. right again! I did a little research and found out that Grinder's Switch is a real place. It's a small community right outside of Centerville, Tennessee, where Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon (aka Minnie Pearl) was born. The community's claim to fame (besides having Minnie Pearl born nearby) is the railroad switch that's located there. I have a coworker who was born and raised in a small town named Swinney Switch, Texas. Their biggest claim to fame is the railroad switch that's located there. Her father still lives there and raises lemon trees. Two years ago she went to Swinney Switch to visit family and came back with several lemons from her father's trees. They were the size of soccer balls. That's not just a Texas tall tale. They actually were that size. Being a fellow Texan, she gave me one. My wife almost freaked when she saw it. After she made almost three gallons of lemonade from that one lemon, I got several seeds and planted them in my garden. That two year old lemon tree is almost three feet tall now. Still no lemons yet but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when it starts bearing fruit.
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Postby Slava » Sat May 19, 2012 10:05 pm

I see that you live by the old saw: if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sun May 20, 2012 1:14 am

Swinney Switch, Texas is very near the place of my nativity and is a part of my old stomping grounds. Big lemons, yes. We grew them too. No other citrus though. There's not much there now except for a very good restaurant. I was there recently. I am not sure the railroad switch is still there.

Minnie Pearl was the beloved funny woman from Grinder's Switch. Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon was a shrewd business-woman and a leader of Nashville society. Somehow, they both lived in the same body.

I don't know what part of 'Bama you live in bamaboy, but it might be a mite cold for the lemon tree to bear there. You could grow Kumquats.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun May 20, 2012 11:11 am

We grow dandelions really well here.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Sun May 20, 2012 8:49 pm

Slava, when life hands you lemons, not only make lemonade but make lemon trees, too! Philip H., maybe only the name of Swinney Switch survives. Don't know if the actual railroad switch survives. I'll have to ask my coworker tomorrow when I see her. It did at one time because she told me that's how the town got the name. I live in L.A. Around here L.A. stands for "Lower Alabama". If you left my house and drove straight south, in 15-20 minutes you'd hit the Florida line. Around here, in the winter we might have 3-5 days of weather in the mid- to upper 30's. On a really freakily cold day we might hit the upper 20's. They close the schools and businesses down around here when that happens. Hope that's not too cold for lemon trees. So far I've managed to keep my tree alive. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon May 21, 2012 1:12 am

bamaboy: You might get lemons from your lemon tree in your Lower Alabama climate. Some fruit trees propagate only by grafting, so I am not sure what kind of lemon tree you will have.

As for the switch at Swinney Switch, I have just discovered why I never saw one there in my youth. I discovered from a Texas Towns web site that there was never a switch at Swinney Switch because there was never a railroad there. Mr. Swinney was trying to get a railroad to come through his little town and thought if he named it assuming there was a railroad, the railroad would be built. It took more that that to get a railroad. You had to slip the railroad company a pretty hefty bribe to get your railroad. That is just one of the small towns in the county and in the USA that got left high and dry by the railroad companies.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon May 21, 2012 12:13 pm

We have a number of them, now ghost towns,
or soon to be, here in Pony Express lands.
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Postby Slava » Mon May 21, 2012 8:20 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:As for the switch at Swinney Switch, I have just discovered why I never saw one there in my youth. I discovered from a Texas Towns web site that there was never a switch at Swinney Switch because there was never a railroad there. Mr. Swinney was trying to get a railroad to come through his little town and thought if he named it assuming there was a railroad, the railroad would be built.
An interesting reversal to the tag line of "Field of Dreams": "If you build it, he will come." At least that one worked out. "If you name it, they will build it" didn't.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Wed May 30, 2012 12:14 am

Philip H., thanks for the Texas history on Swinney Switch! Slava's right, just 'cause you named it, doesn't mean the railroad has to build there. Nice try but bummer for Swinney Switch! Still keeping my fingers crossed on my lemon tree. My coworker who gave me the lemon told me it was called a Ponderosa lemon (perhaps named after the TV western Bonanza -- or maybe it's the other way around?). We'll see how it goes.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed May 30, 2012 12:32 pm

There are ponderosa pines, so maybe the lemon is
correctly named.
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