Charivari

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Dr. Goodword
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Charivari

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:36 pm

• charivari •


Pronunciation: shah-ri-vah-ri • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A serenade of callithumpian music with kettles, pans, teatrays, and the like, applied to unpopular events or people. 2. Discordant sounds, a babel of noise.

Notes: In the US and Cornwall this word was (mis)pronounced [shi-vê-ree], so it came to be spelled shivaree. It is a lexical loner that comes with only a plural: charivaris.

In Play: We don't have as many charivaris as we once did, so we use this word today only figuratively: "When the kids got into the pots and pans, they created a regular charivari." Or even: "The band has made incredible progress: it began sounding like a charivari."

Word History: The origin of the word charivari is likely from the Vulgar Latin caribaria, plural of caribarium "rattling of kitchenware". This word was borrowed from the Greek karebaría, literally "heaviness in the head" but also used to mean "headache", from kara "head" + baros "heavy, strong, deep (voice)" + -ia, a noun suffix. Kara came from PIE ker- "horn", that also went into the making of English horn and Latin cornus "horn" that went into cornucopia "horn of plenty". We also see cornus in cornet, borrowed from French, and English's own hornet, the bug with the very sharp horn on the end opposite where horns normally stand. We see baros again in the English borrowing from Greek barometer, which measures atmospheric pressure (weight). (Today's fascinating Good Word is a find from our old friend Rob Towart. Thanks again, Rob.)
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jfink
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Re: Charivari

Postby jfink » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:49 pm

It wasn't just unpopular people who were treated to a "shivaree". In my grandfather's day it was a common activity to so serenade a newly-wed couple on their wedding night (my grandparents were wed in small town Michigan 1900), much like even today the bridal couple drives away in a car with "just married" signs and festoons of various types, including dragging shoes, to a raucous chorus of car horns.
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LukeJavan8
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Re: Charivari

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:24 pm

And of course tin/aluminum cans, and car horns blaring.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

Philip Hudson
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Re: Charivari

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:20 pm

I can back up jfink's entry about "shivaree". My parents were married on 1932MAR05. They were married by the pastor of our little rural church. However, it was not a church wedding. They drove to the nearby town where the pastor lived and were married in his study. Two close friends accompanied them. This was the way it was done in those days when farmers didn't have the means to finance big weddings. They returned to my father's family home where they were to live for a short while. They had expected a party there but no one was home except my grandparents. So the couple went to their room and prepared to go to bed. Suddenly the house was illuminated by the headlights of dozens of cars which had been pushed noiselessly around the house. A large number of my parents friends rushed the house shouting: Shivaree!, Shivaree! Some of the men announced their intention of dousing my dad in the horses' watering trough. My Mother strongly objected. The raucous group said they would relent if Mother would sing them a concert. She obliged them by singing a few songs. Then my grandmother invited the crowd in the house. They rolled back the rugs. Granddaddy Hudson came in with his violin and they had a hoedown. It was a memorable night.
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LukeJavan8
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Re: Charivari

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:09 pm

And thanks for sharing that magnificent story.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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call_copse
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Re: Charivari

Postby call_copse » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:20 am

I enjoyed that story too :D
Iain


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