Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Meaning: to become or to make bald, hairless, or smooth.

Usefulness: 1 ("Did you glabrate this morning, George? Your chin is a little shady." "And how much would you like me to glabrate today, ma'am?" "Time glabrates us all, my friend.")

Logofascination: 1 (related to glabrousness, which I just like saying aloud; from the Latin glaber, which, somewhere back up the linguistic family tree, is possibly linked to glad and glass.)

In the wild: Glabrousness turns up in a comment on a rather fascinating post on hair removal by women during the Renaissance. The Wikipedia entry is also worth a read, if only to get an idea of the complexity of glabrousness and its interplay with gender and religion.

Degrees: 2

Connections: glabrate - hairless

Which is used in: G&P, Book the Third, XXVIII: How Friar John comforteth Panurge in the doubtful matter of cuckoldry, or as I like the call it, one of the cod chapters. In chapters XXVI and XXVIII, Panurge spends an inordinate amount of time addressing Friar John by linking cod (in its old sense of testicle) with various descriptive words. Panurge is happier in the first chapter, so the words are more positive (or at least energetic) whereas in this chapter he's unhappy, so they are more pejorative. Here is a small sample:
Suffocated C.
Filthy C.
Weather-beaten C.
Held down C.
Shred C.
Flayed C.
Barked C.
Chawned C.
Bald C.
Hairless C.
Short-winded C.
Tossed C.
Note that Sir Thomas (or his editor or printer) have saved themselves some work by writing C., rather than repeating cod hundreds of times. This being Sir Thomas, he has then used all that saved time to expand Rabelais' original lists by several orders of magnitude. I'll put the full lists up some time, once I work out what some of the words mean.

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