Today, I am delighted to be featuring an extract from The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities: A Yearbook of Forgotten Words by Paul Anthony Jones as part of the blog tour.
The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities is a fun book which you can dip in and out of and discover a forgotten word for each day of the year accompanied by a fascinating story significant to that date.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alison Menzies and Elliott & Thompson for asking me to take part in the tour and for sending me a copy of this delightful book.
Scroll down to find out more about The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities and to discover the rather interesting forgotten word for today, 30 October.
~ Book Blurb ~
A whole year’s worth of linguistic curiosities, just waiting to be discovered.
Within these pages you might leap back in time, learn about linguistic trivia, follow a curious thread or wonder at the web of connections in the English language.
1 January quaaltagh (n.) the first person you meet on New Year’s Day
1 April dorbellist (n.) a fool, a dull-witted dolt
12 May word-grubber (n.) someone who uses obscure or difficult words in everyday conversation
25 September theic (adj.) an excessive drinker of tea
24 December doniferous (adj.) carrying a gift
Paul Anthony Jones has unearthed a wealth of strange and forgotten words: illuminating some aspect of the day, or simply telling a cracking good yarn, each reveals a story. Written with a light touch that belies the depth of research it contains, this is both a fascinating compendium of etymology and a captivating historical miscellany. Dip into this beautiful book to be delighted and intrigued throughout the year.
~ Entry in The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities ~
panshite (n.) a state of panic, confusion, or uproar
Panshit or panshite is a fairly questionably spelled Scots dialect word for what the Scottish National Dictionary defines as ‘a flurry, to-do, state of excitement, panic, or muddle’. Quite where such a peculiar word comes from is a mystery, but the dictionary’s theory is certainly a plausible one: panshit might be a local corruption of pansheet or panshard, meaning ‘a shard of broken pottery’. The association with panic or disorder, so the theory goes, may have come from ‘the practice of breaking and throwing these in large quantities into houses on Shrove Tuesday’, presumably in some age-old custom that is now, thankfully, as obsolete as the word panshit itself.
On the subject of panic and disorder, it was on 30 October 1938 that Orson Welles’ infamous dramatisation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds (1898) was first broadcast. Updated for a twentieth-century American audience, Welles’ version of
the story was written as a series of news broadcasts reporting a violent Martian invasion in near real time. From reports of distant explosions on the surface of Mars to a crowd of onlookers being vaporised by a ray gun fired from an alien craft, the events of the invasion steadily escalate until an attack on New York City describes terrified people jumping ‘like rats’ into the East River and tourists in Times Square ‘falling like flies’. Finally, radio static is interrupted by a broadcaster ominously asking, ‘Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there – anyone?’
Welles’ broadcast was chillingly effective – in fact, almost too effective. The following morning, the New York Times ran with the front-page headline, ‘Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact’.
~ About Paul Anthony Jones ~
PAUL ANTHONY JONES is something of a linguistic phenomenon. He runs @HaggardHawks Twitter feed, blog and YouTube channel, revealing daily word facts to 39,000 engaged followers. His books include Word Drops (2015) and The Accidental Dictionary (2016). His etymological contributions appear regularly, from the Guardian to the Telegraph, Buzzfeed to Huffington Post and BBC Radio 4.
~ Where to find Paul Anthony Jones ~
~ Where to find The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities ~
The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities was published by Elliott & Thompson on 19 October 2017 and is available via the following links:
~ Follow the Tour ~