Sunday, September 9, 2012


Meaning: it's an alternate spelling (and pronunciation?) of pizazz, which is one of the mysterious origin unknown words.

Usefulness: 2 (hipster points: if people correct you, you can look at them pityingly and remark that it's an early variant. Sounds a bit like bees knees, beeswax, and other such melittological slang; so much so that I find myself having to resist the temptation to etymologise folksily.)

Logofascination: 3 (only escapes boring by virtue of having z three times)

In the wild: in my Jumbline game (word game for iPhone) of all places

Degrees: 2 (surprisingly, for something so light on etymology)

Connections: bezazz - sparkle (used in its definition)

Which is used in: G&P, Second Book, I: Of the original and antiquity of the great Pantagruel. Pantagruel is a giant (when it suits Rabelais, anyway), and is apparently descended from some people who grew a lot after a particularly good medlar season. Unfortunately some other people were not so fortunate in the areas which grew:
"In others, their nose did grow so, that it seemed to be the beak of a limbeck, in every part thereof most variously diapered with the twinkling sparkles of crimson blisters budding forth, and purpled with pimples all enamelled with thickset wheals of a sanguine colour, bordered with gules; and such have you seen the Canon or Prebend Panzoult, and Woodenfoot, the physician of Angiers."

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