Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Meaning: etymologically, it's from Greek meaning "tending to work out", but in its original context, Sir Thomas was probably extending a rhetorical term - exergasia - which involves repeating the same idea in different ways.

Usefulness: 1 (If you go with the etymological meaning - the only one provided by the OED - it can be applied to gyms and their frequenters, as suggested in The Horologicon, or used of formulae or budgets: "I never worry too much about my finances, they're basically exergastic." The rhetorical sense is also useful: "Great speech boss; most exergastic.")

Logofascination: 1 (Under exergasia, the OED has a quote suggesting it is imagery from 'polishers of marble', and several definitions over at LEME mention polishing or trimming; repeated images in a speech seem to be likened to a worker in marble, patiently bringing out the patterns within.)

In the wild: in the Daily Mail and on the BBC, as mentioned earlier.

Degrees: 0

Connections: n/a

Used in: Ekskybalauron 278 - Sir Thomas is pretending to be someone else writing about what a great guy Sir Thomas is. Towards the end, he explains that his writing has in fact been quite restrained*, and that if he'd really let himself go:
I could have introduced, in case of obscurity, synonymal, exargastick, and palilogetick** elucidations;  for sweetness of phrase, antimetathetick*** commutations of epithets; for the vehement excitation of a matter, exclamation in the front, and epiphonemas**** in the reer.

*Patently not true. I can't help but wonder if some of this is self-parody, but that may be my reluctance to accept that Sir Thomas could so lacking in self-awareness as to write such things seriously.
** repetition of the same word or phrase
*** another kind of repetition, apparently
****a striking phrase to finish off with

To the Person searching for 'palindrome Ekskybalauron': there probably are some, and if you find them, let me know. It's also possible you're after this quote concerning the rather amazing language invented by Sir Thomas:
Three and twentiethly: Every word in this language signifieth as well backward as forward, and however you invert the letters, still shall you fall upon significant words, whereby a wonderful facility is obtained in making of anagrams. 

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