Saturday, December 22, 2012


Meaning: afterwit; the things you think of while wandering down the stairs to the taxi, as in l'esprit d'escalier.

Usefulness: 1 (Particularly if one is experiencing the unique pain of having met a long-admired artist - say, hypothetically, a musician - and having been struck dumb, only to think of all the witty and charming things one could have said after the fact. It's odd, but there is some comfort in thinking "Well, I know the word for that.")

Logofascination: 1 (Tintiddle was invented by Gelett Burgess, a chap who wasn't beholden to all this Latin and Greek nonsense, but made words up out of thin air and cigarette smoke. Not appearing in the OED, but redeemed by mentions at the Inky Fool and Sentence first. If you can cope with your average 1920's levels of sexism and/or misogyny, I recommend reading his dictionary, or at the least, examining its illustrations.)

In the wild: No, but this is going on my (growing) list of things to mention to the OED.

Degrees: 2

Connections: tintiddle - scalier (from the French escalier)

Which is used in: Ekskybalauron, in which the Admirable Chrichton and his lady-love depart the court for her abode:
they joyntly went along a private passage which led them to a lanterne scalier whose each step was twelve foot long; thence mounting up a paire of staires, they past through and traversed above nine several rooms on a floor before they reached her bed chamber; which in the interim of the progress of their transitory walk, was with such mutual cordialness so unanimously aimed at, that never did the passengers of a ship in a tedious voyage long for a favourable winde with greater uniformity of desire, then the blessed hearts of that amorous and amiable couple were, without the meanest variety of a wish in every jot united.
 They really wanted to get there; did we all get that? Good.

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