scarlet pimpernel

Pronounced: SKAR-luht PIM-per-nuhl, noun

Notes: I have read the book, The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy, and I have seen the 1982 film (with Anthony Andrews & Jane Seymour) as well as the 1934 film (with Leslie Howard & Merle Oberon), but I had no idea that this was a word, which is why it is included here. I suspect nearly everyone can guess the definition.

Yesterday’s word

The word mugwump means “an independent, especially in politics”.


The word is humorously explained as someone who sites on a fence with his mug (face) on one side, and his wump (rump) on the other. In truth, the word comes from the Massachusett word mugquomp (leader, great man). Massachusett is a language in the Algonquian language family. The word was used in 1884 to describe a Republican who refused to support their candidate, James Blaine, who had a reputation for corruption. These mugwumps supported Grover Cleveland, making him President of the United States.

First usage

The word showed up in the mid-1800s.

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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