Friday, October 26, 2012


Meaning: a racist epithet, this one word simultaneously insults Jews, Muslims and anyone who changed their faith - Cotgrave tells us that marrane (the French word Sir Thomas is translating) means:
A Renegado, or Apostata; a peruerted, or circumcised Christian; a Christian turned Turke, or Jew; also, a conuerted, or baptized Moore, Turke, or Iew; one that turnes Christian for feare rather then of deuotion; also, a Iewish, cruell, hard-hearted, or hollow-hearted fellow.
It's interesting that Cotgrave uses it of converts either way (to or from Christianity) as the OED and other sources only seem to have the sense of a convert to Christianity for reasons of fear or practicality. Cotgrave notes the element of fear in the conversion, but does not seem to see the contradiction inherent in the end of his definition.

Usefulness: 5 (Can't say I thought I'd ever feature a word this useless, but I don't think hiding from what makes us uncomfortable in a text is helpful.)

Logofascination: 2 (Sir Thomas has taken the French version, marrane, of what was originally a Spanish word, marrano, and re-Spanished it as maranisado; in fact he takes an entire phrase of which only one word is in Spanish in Rabelais and replaces it with Spanish.)

In the wild: Nope.

Degrees: 1 (It is possible this was a variant of a Spanish term at the time, although I can't find any reference to one - marranismo is a related word in Spanish).

Connections: n/a

Used in: G&P, First Book, VIII, as featured in the Seif post the other day (which I thought was simple -things rarely are, with Rabelais and Sir Thomas): How they apparelled Gargantua.
His sword was not of Valentia, nor his dagger of Saragossa, for his father could not endure these hidalgos borrachos maranisados como diablos: but he had a fair sword made of wood, and the dagger of boiled leather, as well painted and gilded as any man could wish.
For this line, Frame has "his father hated those potted hidalgos like devils", leaving out the religious slur, but as Rohan helpfully commented, Sir Thomas' Spanish means something like his father hated the "drunk-as-hell members of the Spanish minor nobility."

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