Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Daily Hump: When you're sliding into first and you feel something exploding in your new pair of jeans only you're not really sure what it is...

...that's logorrhea.

Today's hump is for the Coprophiliacs* in the audience.

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that, according to the OED, logorrhea is most likely an alteration of diarrhea. Logo- is, of course, a Greek word meaning, well, "word". -rrhea is a Greek suffix meaning "to flow". Thus, logorrhea is the excessive flow of words.

But logorrhea really isn't my word today; no, it's another linguo-descriptive device with an intestinal genesis, poppycock. Poppycock is pure nonsense--literally. Poppycock started off as pappekak, a word of Dutch dialect that seemed to pop up in America towards the end of the Civil War (in reference to the US Congress, plus ça change...). Pap is most likely of Middle Dutch, harkening further back to the Latin pappe, "food".

(I recently discovered, somewhat awkwardly, that a pap smear has very little to do with food: "Can I get a bagel with just a pap smear of the veggie cream cheese? Thanks". Pap smears are named after George Papanicolaou (1883–1962), an American anatomist--which is surprising, because I would have thought a man of Greek heritage would have gone into proctology. Go figure.)

Anyhoo, back to poppycock. -cock** is from the Dutch kak (dung), which is rooted in the Latin cacāre, "to defecate". There's an obscure English adjective, cacatory, meaning "looseness of the bowels", that also comes from this Latin root. And my pap smear anecdote was a pure cock-and-bull story, where cock is believed to originate from the same Dutch root (cock-and-bull will likely be a future hump).

*Coprophiliacs are fans of the famed Italian/American director Frank Copro, director of the 1946 classic "It's a Wonderful Poo" and 1939's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washingroom".

**In case you're wondering about cock in the penile sense, this is most likely derived from a rather staid definition of the word: "A spout or short pipe serving as a channel for passing liquids through, and having an appliance for regulating or stopping the flow; a tap."

Happy Yom Kippur!

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:: posted by David, 9:36 AM


Happy Yom Kippur? Pap smear of veggie? Where are you from? Happy Yom Kipppur should be, "May you be inscribed.." or at the very least, "Easy fast." And Pap smear? That'd be pap schmear. However, good call (and nice work) on the Copra films.
Blogger Loocite, at 12:28 PM  

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