Sunday, November 11, 2012


Meaning: to do more than required, to go beyond; originally a Catholic term referring to someone performing good works / penance / prayers to earn merit for another (e.g. a deceased relative).

Usefulness: 1 (Sarcastically: "Well, no need to fear supererogation in this office." To confuse waiters: "Your supererogation has not gone unnoticed.")

Logofascination: 2

In the wild: Aldous Huxley, a chap who clearly believed all his readers had an excellent vocabulary or an excellent dictionary, inspired two previous posts.  Today's is from Crome Yellow, describing Ivor Lombard
He excelled in amateur theatricals and, when occasion offered, he could cook with genius. He resembled Shakespeare in knowing little Latin and less Greek. For a mind like his, education seemed supererogatory. Training would only have destroyed his natural aptitudes.
Degrees: 1 (I was quite surprised, until I remembered that Rabelais was, after all, a Catholic priest)

Connections: n/a

Used in: G&P, Second Book (Pantagruel), VI: How Pantagruel met with a Limousin, who too affectedly did counterfeit the French language. The Limousin, (whose speech was discussed in flay the fox) defending himself against an intimation of heresy, concludes:
Nevertheless, it is veriform, that because Mammona doth not supergurgitate anything in my loculs, that I am somewhat rare and lent to supererogate the elemosynes to those egents that hostially queritate their stipe.
He's saying something like "Nevertheless, it is true that because money doesn't overflow my way, I am slow to give extra alms to those who beg." Lent is an old term for sluggish, elemosynes are alms, egents are the needy (from Latin), hostially is to do with doors (I think; Frame has 'door to door'), and stipe is also alms, or small payment (similar to stipend).

I'm just off to supererogatorially update the eleemosynary post, thanks to the elemosynes above.

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