Monday, October 29, 2012


Meaning: An old French word, Cotgrave defines it as:
A true, just, and precise interpretation, or translation of every single word.
Usefulness: 2 (It must be pointed out that 'a true, just and precise interpretation' and a 'translation of every single word' are rarely the same, as you'd know if you'd spent any time over at God Didn't Say That.)

Logofascination: 1 (Calepinus was a lexicographer, and his name lived on for several centuries in various words. A calepin was a dictionary and then a notebook in both English and French, after his Latin dictionary. As discussed further below, "Calepinus recensui" was apparently used as a sign-off by copyists.)

In the wild: It's not where I found it, but someone has used Calepin as the name for a service that translates between Dropbox and blogs. Or something. (n.b. this is not a recommendation, I just thought it was a clever name.)

Degrees: 2

Connections: calepinerie - Calepinus

Which is used in: G&P, First Book (Gargantua), XIX: The oration of Master Janotus de Bragmardo for recovery of the bells. As mentioned in the Quiddity post, Master Bragmardo is tipsily pleading for the return of some bells. He concludes his oration:
And no more saith the deponent. Valete et plaudite. Calepinus recensui. 
W.F. Smith notes in his 1893 translation that:
The three endings are (1) that of depositions, (2) that of Latin Comedies, and (3) that of a copyist at the end of a manuscript. Calepinus, an Italian Augustinian (14355-1511), who wrote a polyglot dictionary which was in vogue in Rabelais' time. Calepin is now used in French for a note -book. There was also the verb calepiner. 
(2) is something like "farewell and applause", and (3) "I, Calepinus, have reviewed it." It is alleged that this was a sign-off for copyists, but I can't find any indication as to why they called themselves Calepinus (unless Calepinus is just the example?). My only sources for this are Rabelais-related, which makes me wonder if this is one of those explanations that has assumed authority by virtue of repetition.  It's possible that Calepinus was the only one who used it, that Rabelais and Master Bragmardo are referring to him directly, and that everyone else is referring to Rabelais. 

Any suggestions, sources, alternatives or more accurate Latin translations appreciated.

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