Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Meaning: in French, this now means backfire, but Cotgrave helpfully gives us the original definition:
Gunshot of farting; also, a horses kicking, winsing, or yerking out behind, accompanied, for the most part, with farting.
Usefulness: 1 (while not as obscure as barytonize, you now have a mildly confusing term for 'gunshot of farting'.)

Logofascination: 1 (No, really - fart is quite interesting, linguistically, as discussed here and in ensuing links, or here at the OUP blog, or you could have a look at a few words it has snuck into over here.)

In the wild: No, although there appear to be a number of chaps called Peter Ade. Sorry guys.

Degrees: 1

Connections: n/a

Which is used in: G&P, Third Book, V: How Pantagruel altogether abhorreth the debtors and borrowers. These are the lines just before yesterday's passage:
Furthermore, there shall not one hereafter, native of the country of Salmigondy, but he shall level the shot towards my nose. All the back-cracking fellows of the world, in discharging of their postern petarades, use commonly to say, Voila pour les quittes, that is, For the quit.
For the last line of that paragraph, quoted yesterday - "it will incontinently for their ease afford them a rattle of bumshot, like a sal of muskets" - Rabelais has "elles peteront plus qu'ilz n'entendent".  This is (very roughly - feel free to correct my translation) "they will fart more than they understand" (or intend?).  I'm not sure whether bumshot is an Urquhartian coinage (it's certainly possible, although he does tend to prefer more Latin) as such things only started making it into dictionaries recently, but that image and 'like a sal of muskets' suggest that Cotgrave's gunshot definition was still echoing about when Sir Thomas got to that line.

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