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termagant

Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.

termagant

Postby Stargzer » Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:15 pm

I've just finished reading Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle and found this quite descriptive term:

termagant

SYLLABICATION: ter·ma·gant
PRONUNCIATION: tûr'mə-gənt
NOUN: A quarrelsome, scolding woman; a shrew.
ADJECTIVE: Shrewish; scolding.
ETYMOLOGY: From Middle English Termagaunt, imaginary Muslim deity portrayed as a violent and overbearing character in medieval mystery plays, alteration of Tervagant, from Old French.


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Let's examine some examples from the Master himself. By George, I think I see future taglines in the first two paragraphs! :twisted:

I have observed that he was a simple, good-natured man; he was, moreover, a kind neighbor and an obedient henpecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation, and a curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long-suffering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in some respects, be considered a tolerable blessing, and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed.

. . .

Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled on; a tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use. For a long while he used to console himself, when driven from home, by frequenting a kind of perpetual club of the sages, philosopers, and other idle personages of the village, which held its sessions on a bench before a small inn, designated by a rubicund portrait of His Majesty George the Third.

. . .

From even this stronghold the unlucky Rip was at length routed by his termagant wife, who would suddenly break in upon the tranquility of the assemblage, and call the members all to nought; nor was that august personage, Nicholas Vedder himself, sacred from the daring tongue of this terrible virago, who charged him outright with encouraging her husband in habits of idleness.

Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair; and his only alternative, to escape from the labor of the farm and the clamor of his wife, was to take a gun in hand, and stroll away into the woods.


What did you think he was going to do with the gun? :wink:

BTW, does anyone see the schwa (ə)? I can only see a box. Must be the furschlushinger font. :x
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 Brazilian dude » Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:10 am

I see a box. Ain't it funny that you can post in Japanese, Chinese, Greek and Cyrillic, but can't enter schwas? :?

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Postby gailr » Thu Oct 13, 2005 9:28 pm

Perhaps you could sic Rip's wife on this ə problem.
-gailr

that box looks like a sub for a swear word, doesn't it?
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Postby tcward » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:49 pm

Hmm... I'm sure I saw just a box at home, but here at work I see the genuine schwa!

...also, I'm tempted to spell this word with a p -- ptermagant!

-Tim
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:50 pm

A ptermagant pterodactyl.

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Postby Stargzer » Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:36 pm

Nah, Tim's just grousing again about a ptermagant ptarmigan; it's all game to him. :wink:

ptarmigan

SYLLABICATION: ptar·mi·gan
PRONUNCIATION: tär'mĭ-gən
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. ptarmigan or ptar·mi·gans
Any of various grouses of the genus Lagopus, inhabiting arctic, subarctic, and alpine regions of the Northern Hemisphere and having feathered legs and feet and plumage that is brown or gray in summer and white in winter.
ETYMOLOGY: Alteration (influenced by the spelling pt in Greek words like pteron, wing) of Scottish Gaelic tarmachan.


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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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