Caper

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Dr. Goodword
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Caper

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:42 pm

• caper •


Pronunciation: kay-pêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. (Usually pluralized, capers) The flower bud of a bush (Capparis spinosa) that grows abundantly in southern Europe. It is used as a condiment. 2. A dashing leap or playful skipping movement. 3. A frivolous or illegal escapade.

Notes: Today we're having a two-for-one sale—no extra charge! Definitions 2. and 3. are unrelated to the definition 1; they are words coincidentally spelled and pronounced the same. Caperer is a rarely used personal noun and capering is the action noun and adjective. <i>Caper</i> may be used 'as is' as a verb, e.g. 'to caper around the room'.

In Play: 'Cutting a caper' refers to adding a hop or skip to your step: "After hearing he was getting a raise, Gildersleeve couldn't resist the temptation to cut a little caper as he walked down the hall on his way back to his office." This word is often a euphemism for a criminal escapade: "Robin Banks's latest caper involves a rich Aunt and a rubber zombie mask."

Word History: The sense of the first word, capers, is a reduction from Latin capparis, borrowed from Greek kapparis, of unknown origin. The second word is a clipping of Italian capriole "playful leap", inherited from Latin capreolus "baby goat", the diminutive of caper "goat". Latin inherited this word from PIE kapro- "goat". Kapro- is also the source of Welsh gafr "buck", Greek kapros "boar", and Old English hæfr (today's heifer "young cow"). Capriole was remodeled into cabriolet, a 19th century horse-drawn carriage known for its jiggledy rides. This word was clipped to just cab. (Jennifer Baldwin may now take a bow for her first caper at alphaDictionary: suggesting today's two identically spelled Good Words.)
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David Myer
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Re: Caper

Postby David Myer » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:22 am

I passed this entry to a friend here in Australia, and his response included this question and this rather charming story:

"Presumably caprice and capricious come from the same source? Quite a few musical compositions are titled ‘caprice’ or ‘capriccio’.

The Savage Club's down-at-heel digs in Covent Garden used to carry a warning on the stairs: 'Owing to some architectural caprice these stairs are of uneven depth; members preoccupied with lofty thoughts may be caused to stumble’."

damoge
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Re: Caper

Postby damoge » Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:43 pm

David, thank you. Very nice!
Everything works out, one way or another

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LukeJavan8
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Re: Caper

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:09 pm

The Savage Club's down-at-heel digs in Covent Garden used to carry a warning on the stairs: 'Owing to some architectural caprice these stairs are of uneven depth; members preoccupied with lofty thoughts may be caused to stumble’."


that is really most curious and a great way to do a warning.
Would that all were so well done, warnings might be better
heeded. Thanks.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

David Myer
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Re: Caper

Postby David Myer » Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:46 am

On the subject of communications, you might enjoy these two that I use to illustrate how important it is to explain why, in our warning notices. Of course there are cultural differences between countries but certainly in Australia, you must explain why if you want co-operation.
Screen Shot 2020-08-22 at 9.39.52 pm.jpg
Screen Shot 2020-08-22 at 9.39.52 pm.jpg (132.36 KiB) Viewed 595 times


The image on the left is on the door of an outside lavatory in rural Ireland. The other is a notice in a Thai hotel room.

The Thai one is red rag to a bull for Australians. The reaction would be "What!!! You've got to be kidding. If I want to put my towel on the towel rail, I'll do so." Probably with a few expletives thrown in. But the Irish one elicits the response "Fair enough".

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LukeJavan8
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Re: Caper

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:42 am

:lol:
-----please, draw me a sheep-----


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