Sunday, October 21, 2012


Meaning: Cotgrave says that in French it is "a tumbling, a turning, or tossing upside down", and the OED adds a sense to these in English: "to drive back in disorder."

Usefulness: 1 (it has any number of meanings, although Sir Thomas, as we shall see, mainly associated it with the feat of the loose-coat skirmish.)

Logofascination: 2 (Rabelais used a similar word once, but not in the contexts in which Sir Thomas uses it; Sir Thomas seems to have picked up a slang usage - in France, perhaps, or from Cotgrave - and added it to his list of of synonyms.)

In the wild: Culbute is still around in French, and is used of somersaults, car crashes, and reversals political and financial.

Degrees: 1

Connections: n/a

Used in: a number of places in G&P, including Le Tiers-Livre, XIX: How Pantagruel praiseth the counsel of dumb men. We have visited this chapter before, and as you may recall, Panurge thinks that women will interpret any gestures as referring to sex - he comments:
Whatever signs, shows, or gestures we shall make, or whatever our behaviour, carriage, or demeanour shall happen to be in their view and presence, they will interpret the whole in reference to the act of androgynation and the culbutizing exercise,
Androgynation here seems to mean something like 'men and women together'. Sir Thomas also used culbut in culbusting, as quoted in yesterday's post, and on its own in XXVI: How Panurge consulteth with Friar John of the Funnels

No comments:

Post a Comment