Sunday, October 28, 2012


Meaning: Cotgrave says it's "a circular motion; going round, wheeling about"; the OED "Going round, circumambulation"; Frame, more figuratively, glosses it as "beating around the bush".

Usefulness: 1 (Perhaps best used circumbilivaginationally: "Circumbilivagination and obfuscation are discouraged, in the interests of plain speaking.")

Logofascination: 1 (This is a Rabelaisian coinage and rather unusually, Sir Thomas only uses it where Rabelais used it; perhaps he did not find it as fascinating as I do.)

In the wild: No, but thanks to the Inky Fool's vagant tendencies, you can read up on its etymological cousins - noctivagant, extravagant and omnivagant, montivagant, and nubivagant.

Degrees: 1

Connections: n/a

Which is used in: G&P, Third Book, XXX: How the theologue, Hippothadee, giveth counsel to Panurge in the matter and business of his nuptial enterprise.  Panurge, still seeking reassurance regarding potential cuckoldry, turns from sibyls and mages to a theologian, who asks him:
But in this carnal strife and debate of yours have you obtained from God the gift and special grace of continency?
In good faith, not, quoth Panurge.
My counsel to you in that case, my friend, is that you marry, quoth Hippothadee; for you should rather choose to marry once than to burn still in fires of concupiscence.
Then Panurge, with a jovial heart and a loud voice, cried out, That is spoke gallantly, without circumbilivaginating about and about, and never hitting it in its centred point. Gramercy, my good father!
Of course it's not that simple, and the subject continues for another two books. 

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