Hey you!… Blatherskite!…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s dictionary words are: telergy, teludu, telautograph, teknonymy, telestic, teleseme, and chausses. Please have these words looked up and placed in suitable sentences ready for Professor Mouldie first thing after breakfast tomorrow morning. The professor may arrive wearing a Roman toga and have a laurel wreath on his head – you should not allow this to distract you from your studies.

Speaking of words…
I have been rereading a rather good book from 1984, Wordly Wise by James McDonald published by Constable. (WW)
It’s etymological – now there’s a good word for a start.
Yes, it’s all about English words and their origins, and even covers how we collected the letters of the alphabet. It is nicely written, as one might expect, and is not without humour. If you are interested in words you should look out for an old copy of this; it’s a great book for having lying around the house, to dip into as you are passing, perhaps pausing during vacuuming, or being distracted from looking for that pair of scissors that should be in the sodding kitchen drawer…

James McD doesn’t shy away from the ‘dirty words’ too – here he is discussing the word ‘shit’:

“The word shit remained in general use until the nineteenth century, but nevertheless it is difficult to believe that people had taken kindly to being named, as they certainly were, SCITTEBAG, SCHITBROCH (‘shit breeches’), SHITPOT and SHITFACE.
Not surprisingly, these appellations have fallen into disuse, at least as conventional surnames. In North America there is a type of heron still known, for obvious reasons, as a shitepoke.
Shitteborwelane, ‘shit-bowel-lane’, in the City of London has succumbed to misplaced delicacy for it is now known as SHERBORNE LANE. Towns such as ‘shit-brook’, schitebroc, now called SKIDBROOK have disguised their origins; and even plants, such as the one known to the Germans as kuhscheisse (‘cow-shit’), have acquired more refined names: but even ox-slop and cow-slop have proved too much for sensitive southern ears so now they are known as OXSLIP and COWSLIP respectively.
In the North, however, people are more matter-of-fact. There, one who talks blatant nonsense is thought of as ‘talking shit’, for such an individual is likened to a windbag full of shit and so called a BLATHERSKITE or BLETHERSKATE.”

James McDonald 1984.

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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10 Responses to Hey you!… Blatherskite!…

  1. Jheron Bash says:

    I always think “Shit-for-Brains” is particularly insulting.

  2. Up here we have the word “shyte” which isn’t as clipped and edgy as “shit” More drawn out, for emphasis. eg: One man might say to another “Yer talking SHYTE and don’t say ye arnie” or perhaps a mother to her child before bedtime “Goanie pick up yer shyte (toys, in other words) cuz if ah dae it, its goan in the bin” So yes, its interesting how everyone puts their own spin on common words. Hmm…

    • Dave Whatt says:

      We say ‘shite’ down south here in Dulltown, but we may have picked it up from those Geordie types…
      A posh lady I used to know would occasionally come out with ‘Oh, shittle-dee-dee!…’

      • Hahaha! I do like that…..sounds a bit like my fuckittyfuckfuck expletive I’m known to utter on rare occasion. Do you swear? I can’t imagine you saying anything so common – I bet you have a few weird words that you say and nobody knows you are swearing! 😀

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Oh, I do swear – I think it is art form – the careful placing of the expletive in the sentence is quite critical. For example, someone was making a noise in our street in the early hours, an upstairs window slid open and someone shouted down, “Hey you! It’s fucking half past bastard three!…” It was the placement of ‘bastard’ that made me smile…

      • I did actually chuckle at that! Up here when that happens, windows open from all over and its like your Cafe Hub Bub posts – an array of expletives are hurled at the offender from all directions, followed by various physical implements. If that doesn’t work, then the door gets kicked in. Oh yes, we know how to keep the noise down up here……!

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Gosh! I’m sure you exaggerate dear Scribbler… I hope…

      • Hmm, well….it only happens on weekends and bank holidays so its not so bad. 😀

  3. Dana Doran says:

    That reminds me that I’ve been thinking about 1984 – that perhaps good ol’ George was a time traveler (because I don’t believe people can see the future in such detail!). I thought I solved the problem of those scissors in the kitchen drawer by purchasing another pair – fully expecting to see two pair there when I most needed them! Alas, the first time I looked – they were both missing! and of course, I remarked rather loudly, “oh shit!”

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