Double Tongued Dictionary: “A passion that goeth before a sprawl.”

The Double-Tongued Dictionary records undocumented or under-documented words from the fringes of English. It focuses upon slang, jargon, and other niche categories which include new, foreign, hybrid, archaic, obsolete, and rare words.

[This site and the information on it are compiled, edited, and written by Grant Barrett.]

Today is the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s a fat and lazy kind of day. I’m not going the mall. So I thought I would crib today’s post from one of my favorite sources of odd English language phrases, the Double Tongued Dictionary. And that, of course, reminds me of Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, although I guess the two aren’t connected. The quote in the subject line is part of Bierce’s entry for “zeal.” Here are a few recent entries from the Double Tongued Dictionary, starting with one that seems particularly appropriate this time of the year:

vomit draft n. the first rough version of a piece of writing. Related: scanlation, king, English, Arts & Literature, Slang

Citations: 1990 Roger Cohen New York TImes (Aug. 14) “Books of The Times; A Man’s Fight for the Rain Forest”: In one of countless references to himself, he describes how he wrote a 714-page “vomit draft” of the book in the last three months of last year. Even at half that length in its final form, the book is a trifle emetic. 1996 [Randy Witlicki] Usenet: misc.writing.screenplays (Sept. 17) “Re: Help! I Can’t Get Started!!”: Vomit Draft, Junk Writing Tango, etc. There’s lots of names for what you have to do: Write FAST and don’t look back. 2002 Ved Mehta All For Love (Oct.) p. 68: Later, reading her typed notes, I was embarrassed that I had subjected her to what I thought of as a “vomit draft,” from which I hoped to build a narrative one day. 2006 Lois Corcoran Daily Press (Escanaba, Michigan) (Oct. 26) “A novel idea”: And you can join them—even if your grammar grates and your spelling stinks. Your only goal is to finish what’s fondly called the “vomit draft.” Be assured that much of your novel will reek. But just as a slimy oyster shelters a shimmering pearl, so your story will harbor its own gem.

burping bedpost n. a bassoon. Related: scuffling, spank the plank, English, Music, Slang

Citations: 1954 John Pyskaty Chicago Tribune (Mar. 9) “A Line O’ Type Or Two” p. 16: Bassoon—burping bedpost. 1994 [LadyRoo of Elight’s Kingdo] Usenet: rec.arts.marching.misc (July 14) “My Only Gong Story”: Because I played an instrument during concerst season that was “inappropriate” for marching (the wonderful burping bedpost, also known as the bassoon), I was relegated to the Pit section. 2000 Elizabeth Clay @ Columbus, Ohio U-Wire (Jan. 10) “Ohio State U. hosts 14th annual Bassoon Day”: Ellen Lurie, a 17-year-old from Troy, Ohio said her music teacher gave her the nickname “burping bedpost” when she first began to play the bassoon. 2006 Richard O. Jones Oxford Press (Ohio) (Nov. 16) “St. Julie Billiart Church hosts Tillmann Concert”: “The bassoon is one of the unsung heroes of the orchestra,” said Stanbery, who is also a bassoon player. “It’s sometimes called “a burping bedpost,” but we prefer to refer to it as the ‘king of instruments.‘“

creamy layer n. (in India) the wealthiest citizens in the lowest castes. Related: potel, thulp, steady ticket, double-back, scrub, green GDP, English, India, Employment, Money & Finance

Editorial Note: This term has come about because of discussions about assigning quotas, or reservations, for certain jobs to guarantee that they are given to individuals in groups that have been historically or traditionally discriminated against.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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