Monday, June 10, 2013


Meaning: resembling Mezentius, an Etruscan king exiled for cruelty (according to Virgil, anyway).

Usefulness: 1 ("An early meeting the day after a long weekend? A Mezentian idea!")

Logofascination: 1 (The OED has three citations between 1798 and 1874. The next is 1992, from Iain Banks' Crow RoadBetween Iain and Iain M. Banks, the late, lamented author has 136 citations in the OED, a number of them to do with whisky. Sadly, my favourite of his books, Transition,  seems to have been lexicographically neglected by the OED. If you're interested, the list of the words with Iain / Iain M. Banks citations is at the end of the post.)

In the wildCrow Road: "It did occur to me he could have driven the bike himself with the body lashed to his back looking like a pillion. It's a bit Mezentian, but possible."

Degrees: 2 (Mezentian - Mezentius.  I wonder if there's a classical character Rabelais didn't reference.)

Connections: n/a

Which is used in: G&P, Book the Third, XXI: How Panurge consulteth with an old French poet, named Raminagrobis. Pantagruel is urging Panurge to consult the poet, who is dying, claiming that those close to death frequently become prophetic:
I will not offer here to confound your memory by quoting antique examples of Isaac, of Jacob, of Patroclus towards Hector, of Hector towards Achilles, of Polymnestor towards Agamemnon, of Hecuba, of the Rhodian renowned by Posidonius, of Calanus the Indian towards Alexander the Great, of Orodes towards Mezentius, and of many others.
According to Virgil, Mezentius killed Orodes and rejoiced in it, but Orodes told him he would not rejoice for long, and was of course proven correct.

OED entries with Iain M. Banks citations   
From the books Against A Dark Background, Algebraist, Matter and Use of Weapons. 
actuality, add, allegement, be, be, conservational, coolness, criminality, disable, do-gooding, galactic, gamma radiation, geekishly, maidenly, mend, millimetrically, narcotic, neuron-like, one-legged, path-side, re-equip, regarding, regretful, reinsert, remissness, rise, roquelaure, rotund, rub, run.

OED entries with Iain Banks citations   
From the books Bridge, Crow Road, Raw Spirit, Walking on Glass, Wasp Factory, and Whit.
a roof over one's head, ABV, arsehole, as, bike, black box, black-haired, car ferry, centigrade, Cullen Skink, don't give up the day job, drop-dead, face paint, facing, footwell, friendly, info-dump, labour, mainline, marshalling yard, Mezentian, millimetric, mind, miraculous, monkey-puzzle, monocycle, monstrosity, mouldy-smelling, mourn, Mrs, mud, muffle, muffledly, multiple, mystically, Nazi, neck, ninja, no, noddle, now, number, observatory, off, old sport, om (verb), on (preposition), one potato two potato, one thing leads to another, on-ramp, opaqued, open-top, opiated, orthodontic, out-of-the-way, overshadow, pace, paint, palp, pan, paper streamer, paracetamol, pass, pavement, pellet, perfect crime, phrase, pillar, plain, poppadom, précis, Prod, purge, radiogram, raker, rare, rectangular, reeded, reflect, release, repast, repay, resin, restage, right-hander, righty-ho, roach, road end, road surface, ro-ro, rotundly, roundedly, Scottish Baronial, shit, skid mark, skoosh, small craft, socially, sorrow, Strat, tough, train, wacky baccy, well done that man, what next?, ya (pronoun).

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