Embonpoint

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Dr. Goodword
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Embonpoint

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:41 pm

• embonpoint •


Pronunciation: æN-boN-pwahNHear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Plumpness, stoutness, fleshiness, in a complimentary or euphemistic sense.

Notes: Today we have a word that has been only slightly modified from the phrase it was derived from and the sound remains French. It has no progeny or siblings, since it has remained pretty much a French word. Despite its rarity and its "Frenchiness", it appears in all the major dictionaries, including 29 of the OneLook dictionaries.

In Play: Embonpoint indicates a general fleshiness, a soft musculature mixed with some fat: "As we age, most of us incline to embonpoint." The causes of embonpoint are many and various: "Frank's much discussed embonpoint turned out to be caused by the descent of his chest to his beltline."

Word History: Today's Good Word is French embonpoint "fullness, plumpness", from the Old French phrase en bon point, figuratively "in good condition", often used as a euphemism for "fatness". Middle English had translated the French phrase into 'in good point', meaning "in good condition, healthy, fortunate" but decided to override it with the French original. French reduced Latin bonus "good" to bon. It completely remodeled Latin punctum "pinprick hole, dot" into point. Punctum is the neuter singular of punctus "pricked, pierced", the past participle of pungere "to prick, pierce". This word was inherited from PIE peu(n)k- "to prick" with a Fickle N. The Fickle N underwent metathesis to produce pugnare "to fight", which underlies the English borrowing pugnacious. (Today's rather arcane Good Word was a gift of 'Mr. Simple', a newcomer to the crowd of contributors.)
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call_copse
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Re: Embonpoint

Postby call_copse » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:55 am

In general this is taken to be the female bosom, which is strangely not mentioned?
Iain

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Re: Embonpoint

Postby damoge » Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:00 pm

Male point of view, Iain?
The general use is how I've always heard it and known it, even though I've seldom heard it applied to men.
Always thought of it as the gentile version of zaftig.
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David Myer
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Re: Embonpoint

Postby David Myer » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:56 am

Wow, Debby. I have never heard of zaftig despite a vaguely Jewish heritage. I had to look it up. Very impressed.

And in another word, Iain, Buxom. I wondered about its origin and so have just looked that one up too:

"Middle English: from the stem of Old English būgan ‘to bend’ (see bow2) + -some1. The original sense was ‘compliant, obliging’, later ‘lively and good-tempered’, influenced by the traditional association of plumpness and good health with an easy-going nature."

Bend as in shapely, I suppose.


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