Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Meaning: the dramatic arts associated with a circus; the drama of a circus.

Usefulness: 1 (This word suggests hysteria and bathos and a grand fuss. Asking someone to stop all the hippodramatics, or describing an event as terribly hippodramatic, is self-explanatory.)

Logofascination: 2 (Despite the hippo-, this doesn't seem to have arisen from a horse link - it's possibly from association or confusion with hippodromesHippodramas exist, but are apparently dramas featuring horses.)

In the wild: By the time you read this I will have been to the Melbourne Cup*, and I went looking for some useful horse words for the day.  As I will definitely meet some hippomaniacs, and may well run into a hippogonist (horse pedigree expert) or a hipponomist (horse trainer or manager), I wanted to know what to call them. Other interesting hippo- words:  hippotigrine, which is to do with zebras, or hippomachy - a fight on horseback.

Degrees: 2

Connections: hippodramatic - hippodrome or hippopotamus

Which is used in: G&P, First Book (Gargantua) LV: What manner of dwelling the Thelemites had. Yesterday we heard about the clothing of the Thelemites, today we hear about their resort Abbey, and get two hippo- words for the price of one.
Within those were spacious galleries, long and large, adorned with curious pictures, the horns of bucks and unicorns: with rhinoceroses, water-horses called hippopotames, the teeth and tusks of elephants, and other things well worth the beholding. The lodging of the ladies, for so we may call those gallant women, took up all from the tower Arctic unto the gate Mesembrine. The men possessed the rest. Before the said lodging of the ladies, that they might have their recreation, between the two first towers, on the outside, were placed the tiltyard, the barriers or lists for tournaments, the hippodrome or riding-court...

*finding the right tense for something I haven't done yet but will have by the time you read this is rather tricky, and reminds me of Douglas Adams' Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional.

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