Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 5562
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu May 26, 2005 10:58 pm

• gastromancy •

Pronunciation: gæs-trê-'mæn-see • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: 1. Telling someone's fortune from the noises of the stomach interpreted as words (a giant leap forward from the use of entrails for the same purpose). 2. Fortune-telling using a clear pot-bellied glass bowl filled with water placed in front of candles (a forerunner of crystal-ball gazing).

Notes: Did you ever wonder what people did before television? Today's word names a popular 17th century after-dinner pastime that declined in the 18th century when people discovered that practitioners of gastromancy were using ventriloquism (gastriloquism?) to deceive their audiences. (Some have suggested that the US Office of Management and Budget still uses it for predicting US budgetary needs.) The adjective and agent noun is gastromantic [gæs-trê-mæn-tik].

In Play: Are you getting tired of watching TV after dinner? Then just stay at the table and introduce gastromancy with an off-hand comment like: "I just adored the cabbage, black beans, and sausage, Frederica. Now, let's see what we can predict about tomorrow's market through gastromancy." If you don't want to play, you at least have a more sophisticated term for stomach-rumblings, "After a few beers your stomach is a gastromantic chorale, George. I predict you are in for a long night of heart-burn and indigestion." Finally, we could use it rather like "Gesundheit" after a sneeze: "Gastromancy!" after a gurgle, could mean "Happy digestion!" (Without clicking, place your cursor where the lines meet in the picture to read the fortune of the fellow in it.)

Word History: This Good Word is the English version of Greek gastromanteia "divination by the belly" made up of gaster "pot-belly" + mant-eia "power of divination." Gaster, which may be related to English graze and that which is grazed upon, grass, though the connection is shaky. Manteia, however, is related to Latin mens, mentis "mind, soul, feelings", found in English mental and the suffix -ment. Sanskrit mantar "thinker" and Russian mudryi (from *mond-riji) "wise" are also relatives.
• The Good Dr. Goodword

Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby Brazilian dude » Thu May 26, 2005 11:06 pm


Brazilian dude
Languages rule!

User avatar
Senior Lexiterian
Posts: 556
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:00 pm

Postby Apoclima » Fri May 27, 2005 3:01 pm

Good one, Doc!

'Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination.' -Max Planck

M. Henri Day
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 1142
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stockholm, SVERIGE

Postby M. Henri Day » Sat May 28, 2005 2:58 pm

In Doctor Goodword's elucidation, supra, of this most useful term, I miss only the portrait of the elderly chap with a presumed short life expectancy due to his dissipated habits which was mailed to us as a constituent part of this GWotD. Might I prevail upon the good doctor to put him back in ?...


Junior Lexiterian
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:37 am

Postby astrokatastro » Sun May 29, 2005 10:51 am

Γαστέρα is κοιλιά abdomen. Γαστροιμαργος is the hungy man. :D

Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests