• pasquinade •
pæs-kwi-nayd • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A satire or lampoon of someone that is made public, exposing the lampoonee to public ridicule.
Notes: If you use this lovely alternative to satire and lampoon, be sure to remember that it still has the French accent on the final (ultimate) syllable. Not much can be derived from the word, but someone who engages in writing pasquinades may be called a pasquinader and, very much like lampoon, today's Good Word may be used as a verb 'as-is': to pasquinade someone.
In Play: This word is simply a lovelier alternative to "satire" and "lampoon": "Keep a low profile today: the boss is stalking the halls in search of the wag who posted a pasquinade of him on Facebook." It may be extended metaphorically, though: "I thought it was a fitting lampoon; he is more a pasquinade of a company president than a real one."
Word History: Today's Good Word is the French version of Italian pasquinata from Pasquino, the name given to an ancient statue of Menelaus dragging the slain Patroclus from the field of battle mentioned in the Iliad. Cardinal Caraffa moved this statue to the corner of his palace, now the Palazzo Braschi near the Piazza Navona, in 1501. Every year the cardinal celebrated the statue and local students and professors adorned it with verses written in Latin. As the years passed, the Latin verses took on the character of lampoons. These lampoons became so popular that the locals named the statue "Pasquino" after a schoolmaster who lived on the square. As even more years passed, satirists who wished to keep their identity secret began using the pen name "Pasquino" and their satires were called pasquinate. The word spread quickly to France, where the T was replaced by D before English helped itself to it. (This note of gratitude to Jonjuan Palmary, the Magi in the Agora, for suggesting today's historically rich word, is anything but a pasquinade.)
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