Circumcyclation

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Dr. Goodword
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Circumcyclation

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Nov 03, 2020 6:36 pm

• circumcyclation •


Pronunciation: sêr-kêm-sai-klay-shên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Riding a (bi-, motor-) cycle around or about a site or area.

Notes: I have introduced nonce words created by contributors only once before, when my 8-year-old granddaughter concocted desnoralator. This is not a sniglet but a solid derived word, excepting only the English slang meaning of cycle. It implies a verb, circumcyclate and an adjective, circumcyclational.

In Play: The obvious meaning of today's word is "cycle around": "Minnie Miles spent the summer cycling in Europe. She circumcyclated every city she visited." However, it could just as well mean "cycle about": "Jeff circumcyclated the region around my house when he visited last summer."

Word History: Today's nonce word is made up of two words from the same PIE original word. The prefix circum-"around, about" + cycle in the colloquial sense of "bicycle, motorcycle". Circum is the accusative case of circus "ring, circle", inherited from a reduplicated form of PIE (s)ker- "to turn, bend", keker. This somehow ended up as kirk "church" in Scots English, but appropriately as church in regular English. Cycle was borrowed from Greek kyklos "circle, wheel", from the same PIE word. (Brian Johnson created today's Good Word in a discussion about cyclorama in the Agora.)
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bnjtokyo
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Re: Circumcyclation

Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:02 pm

Congratulations Mr Kovac. You beat me to it.

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Re: Circumcyclation

Postby damoge » Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:29 pm

Twas BJNTOKYO that created the word and gave it to the world via your site, Good Doctor.
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LukeJavan8
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Re: Circumcyclation

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:54 pm

There are so many anagrams around, like CPAP, and many leave me
lost for explanation, I'll gladly welcome desnorolator to my
vocabulary. Thank you Abigail.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

George Kovac
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Re: Circumcyclation

Postby George Kovac » Wed Nov 04, 2020 3:26 pm

No, I did not invent this charming word. Kudos to its rightful author.

I was tempted to claim credit immediately, based on the early ( but inaccurate or incomplete ) reporting...but somehow that did not seem right, and there is enough of that going around today. 😉
"The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words." Colum McCann, But Always Meeting Ourselves, NYT 6/15/09

bnjtokyo
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Re: Circumcyclation

Postby bnjtokyo » Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:19 pm

Thank you, Mr Kovac, for your graceful concession of priority. The invention of a new word is a rare and wonderful experience. Long may circumcyclation and those in its circle circulate.

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Re: Circumcyclation

Postby George Kovac » Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:13 am

I see two distinct metaphoric possibilities for circumcyclation: (1) cycling is an activity that allow the rider to see and examine their surroundings at a deliberate and thorough pace; to peruse. An aspiring politician who wins election by diligently getting to know all their constituents could be said to have circumcycled their district. OR... this pejorative extension: (2) bicycling is sometimes viewed as a slow, outdated, eccentric and inefficient mode of transit. Think of the trope of the disheveled, tweedy professor biking across campus. And the “circum” bit suggests going in circles, failing to reach a linear destination. An ineffective manager who fails to find solutions to the problems in his department could be said to be a useless circumcycler—someone who goes in circles.
"The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words." Colum McCann, But Always Meeting Ourselves, NYT 6/15/09

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Re: Circumcyclation

Postby George Kovac » Sun Nov 08, 2020 1:15 pm

In praise, sort of, of the practice of creating new words...

Anand Giridharada, in an August book review in the New York Times Book Review section, invented the word "saxophonely" to describe the book under review: "Sometime between then and now, the writer Kurt Andersen argues in his essential, absorbing, infuriating, full-of-facts-you-didn’t-know, saxophonely written new book..." It is not clear what Giridharada means by "saxophonely," but he gave a clue when later in the review he writes "Andersen sets to narrate a complex, many layered history."

Many readers wrote to the the NYT books editor to complain about the usage. But a few weeks later another reader wrote in to defend the use of "saxophonely" (a word he nevertheless finds unattractive), and noted that the Oxford English Dictionary credits the New York Times with 730 examples of first evidence of a word. His interesting letter can be found at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/25/book ... ditor.html

"Saxophone" btw, is an eponym and is not capitalized. One of the earlier letter writers complained that Giriharada's use of "saxophonely" was inconsistent with the ideals of Adolphe Sax. That complaint is misplaced. As Dr Goodword explains in his post following "Panglossian,"above, certain eponyms (diseases, mathematical formulations) have no etymological content linked to their namesakes, or as the Good Dr Goodword more elegantly states it, "are semantically empty identification labels rather than identifying lexical categories with semantic content" and thus should not be capitalized. The word "saxophonely" is not capitalized. It relates to the nature of jazz (i.e., complex, many layered and seemingly improvisational) in the use of saxophones, and thus Mr Sax is no longer relevant to this discussion.
"The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words." Colum McCann, But Always Meeting Ourselves, NYT 6/15/09

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Slava
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Re: Circumcyclation

Postby Slava » Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:03 pm

Another meaning we might add would be the idea that what comes around circumcycles. Or the other way.
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Re: Circumcyclation

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:14 am

Whole reading James Fenimore Cooper's "Last of the Mohicans" as a child I was amazed that "Nathaniel "Natty" Bumppo" used six-bit words like "circumnavigate" instead of saying the simple "go around it." It didn't ring true and I never really appreciated JFC's literary efforts. Circumcyclation rings the same bell in my head. Ain't nobody gonna use it here in the hinterlands.
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