Medieval English Revisited

After Stevie kindly referenced me in her post last week, about the ways that the same words can mean very different things to people using English as it was originally intended or US English, I thought I’d return the favour – note the ‘u,’ America!

A couple of days after she posted I was struck by a clue in the Times crossword, which I’m showing you here. It’s 27 across: image

If you don’t have the kind of warped mind needed to solve crosswords, let me deconstruct it for you. For ‘attempt’ the synonym is ‘try.’ The meat is ‘rump’ and the prime, i.e. first part of ‘expensive’ is ‘e.’ With me so far? Use of the word ‘eat’ often means that one word takes another into it, so the solution is:

T(RUMP)-E-RY.

Trumpery? Americans in particular could be forgiven for believing this to be a made up 21st century word, but it isn’t. In fact, it goes back hundreds of years to Medieval English, as this extract from the Oxford Dictionary Online shows:

image

So ‘trumpery’ can mean trickery, articles of little value or use, practices or beliefs that are superficially appealing but have little real value or worth, showy but worthless, delusive or shallow. It’s quite a good word, really, isn’t it? Could we bring it back in modern day usage? Would it have any relevance or meaning today? You might think that….I couldn’t possibly comment 😉

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25 thoughts on “Medieval English Revisited

      • But not using flamingoes and hedgehogs … I try to stay on the right side of animals! How I LOVE Lewis Carroll and how prophetic he seems to be right now. Cheshire Cats and Queens of Hearts running amok and the poor civil servants akin to the White Rabbit. Pass me the hookah Caterpillar, on reflection that might be the only answer! 🐛

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Three Brexit Amigos certainly fit the bill as Cheshire Cats but I’m not sure that St Theresa actually has a heart so as to qualify to be queen. The whole thing fills me with a real sense of foreboding. On the one hand there’s the orange clown taking America back to the 1920s and here we have an alleged government full of clueless numpties running around like headless chickens. It won’t end well xx

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      • The Queen of Hearts had no heart, of that I’m sure – very keen on shouting ‘off with their heads’ as I remember which seems to fit. Pray for France, would you …. I honestly can’t stand it if that fascist man in drag gets in. And anyway, if you play with Emmanuel Macron’s name you get Macaron which is a Macaroon. President Macaroon of France … it has a ring. The ring of a desperate woman who can’t believe the world has turned into this in a sleight of hand that would wow the magic circle. Wot’s going on????? Xx

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      • True, I forgot that. So she fits the bill perfectly! You don’t have much of a choice in France either, and the move towards the far right seems very strong. Le Pen makes Farage look like a liberal. Hopefully the electorate will see sense. At least you’ll still be in the EU unless they manage to play the same con trick there too xx

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      • She’s hot to trot on that trick if she’s elected. I am holding tenuously onto the historically misogynistic tendencies of the French. Which feels very bizarre indeed!! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • The funny thing sitting here is that I am British. I only left the country just under 4 years ago. I always paid my taxes and I top up my NI but I feel like Eskimo Nell cast out in a blizzard. No-one gives a stuff and it will only get worse. And the poor bastards who voted for out will find they are cast into the blizzard too. Or is Saint Theresa on the right track … will Jesus himself come down from Heaven and make it all bountiful? My bluddy Aunts underwear, I never thought I’d live to see the day …. xx

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      • You’re now officially a bargaining chip. What a terrible situation to be in, it beggars belief that it could come to this. The referendum was won on lies, as was the US election, and the fools who fell for them, believing the ‘jam tomorrow’ stuff, are the ones who will suffer most. But by then it will be too late and the damage will be done xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • We can but hope that the electorate sees sense in France, and that somehow the Brexit process is painless. Feels a bit like going to the zoo and hoping to see a unicorn xx

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Reblogged this on Take It Easy and commented:

    This little piece from this day last year just popped up in my Timehop feed. As so many of you have joined me since then I thought it worth airing again. Was I in any way correct, or prophetic? My answer to that is that events since then have, I think, proved me right in drawing the conclusion I hinted at. You are, of course, perfectly at liberty to disagree 😉

    Like

    • I really love this word play, Clive! We have way too many here in the States willing to eat rump while trying to believe it is prime – definitely rubbish and trumpery as well! John Oliver (a Brit and a wit) and a late night host here recently did a great monologue on Trump…and revealed that the original family name was Drumpt, changed by his paternal grandfather. Not sure what to make of that but it was hilarious and is on YouTube. Thanks for the laugh! Jo

      Liked by 1 person

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