Pronounced: taw-TAHL-uh-jee, noun

Notes: I’ve seen this word used, but wasn’t sure of the meaning

Yesterday’s word

The word pinchgut means, as a noun, “a miserly person”; as an adjective, it means “miserly”

First usage

Our word came into English in the early 1600s

Background / Comments

Our word has a nautical origin: it originally meant someone who didn’t give enough food to a ship’s crew (presumably causing their “guts” to pinch together).

Rejected Word

The word rigmarole came up; my first thought was that it was a typo; I was sure it was rigamarole (because that’s how I pronounce it). It had the meaning I thought (“confused or meaningless talk”). I learned that the word is also spelled rigamarole – due to the common pronunciation of “RIH-guh-muh-roll”. The origin of the word is also interesting: in the Middle Ages, there was a game called Ragmane or Ragman: a player randomly selected a string attached to a roll of verses and read the selected verse. The roll was called a “Ragman roll” after the fictional king who supposedly wrote the verses. In the 1500s, ragman and ragman roll referred to a list or catalog. These terms fell our of written use, the in speech, ragman roll persisted and became, in the 1700s, written as rigmarole to mean “a succession of confused, meaningless, or foolish statements”.

Published by Richard

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

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