Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Droll Tuesday

I'm running out of ideas for naming my posts. Especially since nothing of note is happening at the shop. Fs today:

Fafner. In Wagner' Ring, one of the giants that built Valhalla for Wotan. He and his brother Fasolt accept Alberich's golden hoard as payment in place of Freya, the price originally agreed upon. Fafner kills Fasolt and transforms himself into a dragon to guard the hoard which is now his. He is killed by Siegfried. In the Norse sources, Fafnir (not Fafner) has no brother and is guarding Andvari's gold as a venom-breathing dragon from the start. (p.361)

(My grandfather's dachshund is named Fafner. Or Fafnir. I'll have to check with him to find out which it is.)

fifteener. In collectors' parlance, a book printed in the fifteenth century, i.e., an incunabulum. (p.379)

fly-by-night. One who defrauds his creditors by decamping at night-time; also the early name of a sedan-chair, and later a horsed vehicle (hence fly, a cab) designed in 1809 for speed. (p.391)

forlorn hope. Not "a lost hope" but "a lost heap," that is a body of soldiers selected for some desperate or very dangerous enterprise. An adaptation of Dutch verloren hoop, rendered in French as enfants perdus, "lost children," in German as verlorene Posten, "lost post or assignment." (p.395)

Fors Clavigera. Literally, Fortune the club-bearer. A phrase coined by John Ruskin as the title of a serial work, published at irregular intervals, consisting of 96 open letters to British workmen on remedies for poverty and destitution (1871-1884). (p.396)

fustian. A coarse twilled cotton cloth with a velvety pile, probably so called from Fustat, a suburb of Cairo. It is chiefly used now in its figurative sense meaning inflated or pompous talk, clap-trap, bombast, pretentious words. (p.413)

Close runners-up today included factotum, father, the Five Classics, Flying Dutchman, folio, and fool. Fascinating stuff. Truly. To me, at least - I apologize if anyone is dropping off.

Nope. Wide awake at the back here.
Gorblimey, I'm glad someone's paying attention. Because there will be a test later. Open-book, of course -
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