Monday, September 17, 2012


Meaning: Urquhart's English name for pimpompet, which Cotgrave helpfully defines as "A kind of Game wherein three hit each other on the bumme with one of their feet." Later definitions call it an 'antick dance' rather than a game.

Usefulness: 2 (An incredibly apt metaphor for some meetings, although rather specific as to number. It lost points for sounding like a swearword, but could be useful as a swearword instead.)

Logofascination: 1 (a lovely example of how Sir Thomas worked: combining units - bum + dock (rump) + dousse (beat, strike) - to match the (non)sense and rhythm of the original.)

In the wild: in Richard W. Bailey's 1993 keynote speech from the Conference on Early Dictionary Databases. He uses bumdockdousse to illustrate a point, but also discusses technology and lexicography, calling 1993 a golden age of lexicography, particularly compared to the days of punch cards.  One can only wonder what he would have thought of today: I currently have open the OED online, Cotgrave's, a searchable database of Early Modern English, and the bumdockdousse entry in The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form, my new favourite website.
Degrees: 0

Connections: n/a

Used in: G&P, Book the First (Gargantua), XXII: The games of Gargantua. This is a beautiful and occasionally mysterious list of games Gargantua played:
"At the leek. At the casting top. At bumdockdousse. At the hobgoblins. At the loose gig. At the O wonderful. At the hoop. At the soily smutchy. At the sow. At fast and loose. At belly to belly. At scutchbreech. At the dales or straths. At the broom-besom. At the twigs. At St. Cosme, I come to adore thee. At the quoits. At I'm for that."  
If you're ever after a band name, I recommend this chapter.

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