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Troglodyte

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Troglodyte

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:13 pm

• troglodyte •


Pronunciation: trahg-lê-dait • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A person who lives in a cave or building carved into a hillside. 2. A pongid (gorilla, orangutan, or chimpanzee). 3. A reclusive, anachronistic person who resists change.

Notes: This curious word has a limited immediate family, only an adjective troglodytic. The first constituent, troglo-, may be combined with other Greek words to create new words like troglophile "a cave-lover or cave-dwelling animal". And, if troglophile, why not troglophobe "someone who fears caves"? Looks OK to me.

In Play: You probably never thought of chimpanzees as troglodytes, yet their scientific name is pan troglodytes, perhaps from the days when we thought they lived in caves. But this word is used most widely in the sense of an anachronistic recluse: "Nothing brings the troglodytes out of the woodwork like the smell of change." I suppose your attitude toward change will determine whether you identify with the troglodytes or the change-makers.

Word History: Let us see if we can dig out the origin of this word. It was kidnapped pretty much as is from Greek troglodytes, which referred to animals that live in holes, such as mice, foxes, and snakes. Later on it was applied to cavemen. In Greek the word was a compound from trogle "gnawed hole" (from trogein "to gnaw") + dytes "one who enters". ("Cave" in Greek was spelunx, from which we derive spelunker.) But troglodytes to the Greeks were also Caucasian or Middle Eastern peoples who carved their homes in rocks or lived in decorated caves. Aristotle referred to troglodytes as "midgets" and thought that they fought wars against cranes (the birds).
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby MTC » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:03 am

Hoppius' Amoenitates Academicae (1763) classified primates (Anthropomorpha) into the following categories:

1. Troglodyta Bontii, 2. Lucifer Aldrovandi, 3. Satyrus Tulpii, 4. Pygmaeus Edwardi

According to a blog on the "Frontiers of Zoology," 2. refers to the Gibbon, 3. to the Chimpanzee, and 4. to the Orangutan.
Only 1. Troglodyta Bontii remains unidentified. The author of the blog speculates it could be the Sasquatch.

http://frontiersofzoology.blogspot.com/ ... on-at.html
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:17 pm

I always thought "he is a troglodyte" meant he was an ugly brute, like a cave man. Anyone else pick this up?
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:19 pm

One four year of high school teaching there was a boy
whom others considered to be 'one big ugly dude', and
was called 'Trog' as a nickname. Never seemed to bother
him much, and if it did he did not show it. But if it did
I think he could have stopped it, being the biggest hulk
on the football squad.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby MTC » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:49 pm

Where are the trogs of yesteryear, Luke? Take your trog, is he retired with brain damage from a career in pro football? A happy grandfather dandling his grandson on his knee? I personally knew no trogs, being of modest un-troglike dimensions. Water seeks its own level, bulk its bulk. I do recall the Troggs, a British rock band which added its flavor to the Sixties with hormonal hits like "Wild Thing" and the contrasting "Love is All Around You." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvG-chGQwOI

And to Perry's question, most dictionaries say "troglodyte" carries a brutish sense, missing from Doc's definition.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:31 am

There was a literal troglodyte in our rural community when I was a lad. Jake Tilton was his name. He carved a home for himself out of a soft limestone bank of Deer Creek. He was not brutish nor was he a recluse. Actually he was something of a dandy. By day his delightfully landscaped garden was visited by young and old. He sold candy, soft drinks and notions from a case just inside his cave. He had mounds of arrowheads in his rock garden. Much of his garden was trellised with muscadine grapes producing abundant clusters.

By night Jake's cave became quite another thing. It was a totally male enclave. Beer took the place of soda pop. The chief business at hand was playing poker. As “the house” Jake took a cut of everybody's winnings.

As soon as Jake died and was buried with a "Jake the Cave Man" epitaph on his stone, a hurricane filled Deer Creek to overflowing and washed huge chunks out of the limestone cliffs. Jake's cave went with the wind.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:21 pm

MTC: I have no idea whatever happened to him. So many
hundreds of kids pass thru the school doors, lose track
of many. But the head injuries is so very real, it is the
front page story on our local print rag this last Sunday.
Mesh wraps with sensors attached during practice sessions
for research.

We have many sandstone and similar hills here along the
river. Quite a few people have homes carved into them.
Some are quite beautiful.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby call_copse » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:17 am

Coincidentally Jake Tilton is the name chosen for the protagonist in a recently filmed version of the Monkey's Paw, the seminal W. W. Jacobs tale. I cannot imagine the celluloid version does real justice to the original tale of how fate rules our lives, and how those who interfere with it, do so to their great detriment - though while it is an entertaining concept, it is not one I can seriously entertain. Unintended consequences are however very real.

Troglodyte though - yes, one would use this synonymously with Neanderthal. This may be unfair to Neanderthals, who may be very sensitive, yet sadly are not around to defend themselves.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:42 pm

Science is fairly convinced that we all have Neanderthal genes
in us.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:08 am

Luke: My most recent reading on the subject of neanderthal/homo sapien interbreeding is that it does not hold for Africans. It was apparently those naughty homo sapiens who wandered north that prompted the troglodyte version of shotgun weddings. It's sort of like the traveling salesman and the farmer's daughter.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:36 pm

Yes, that is my take on it as well. It is fascinating, however,
I really enjoy paleontology, if that is the science.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:36 pm

Luke: At about the time we are discussing, I believe paleontology begins a slow segue toward archeology.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:45 pm

Gotch'a. I knew the Jurassic was over.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby misterdoe » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:32 am

I'm just a tiny bit surprised that no one has gone back, way back, back into time -- 1972 :D -- when a Puerto Rican R&B journeyman named Jimmy Castor went into the studio and recorded his most enduring hit, "Troglodyte (Cave Man)." Pop success, gold record, etc.
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Re: Troglodyte

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:30 pm

Through the magic of Youtube, I took misterdoe's suggested trip back in time. I am relieved to discover that this was not a trip back into my personal time. If I had danced to the tune of the troglodyte drummer, I would probably be in the looney bin by now. In the 70s I had better things to do.
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