July 6, 2013

"As a dogge that turneth aȝen to his spuyng, so is an vnprudent man that rehersith his fooli."

1. So said Wycliffe's Bible, in Middle English, around 1382, translating a proverb that can be more easily understood in the King James form, from 1611: "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly." No need to get more modern than that.

2. "Returneth" is nice (and helpful to those who lisp). The double "returneth" may seem more poetic than "turneth... rehersith." But you've got to love "fooli" for "folly." The older form is more accessible. And "spuyng" for "vomit"... surely, we lost something there.

3. "Dog" is a very old word of unknown etymology, according to the (unlinkable) OED, which proceeds to explain this particular unknown at great length. Do you prefer the older form "dogge"? (Which I presume was pronounced "doggie.")

4. I'm rummaging around in the OED under "dog" after writing that first post of the day, about the dog vomit fungus, which was the first post today because it's something that came up on the front lawn overnight. (Some things come up in conversation, and other things come up on the front lawn.) The OED has no entry for the fungus, but I tumbled upon the old aphorism, and thought you might find some use for it.

5. I, of course, was returning to my old fooli, having blogged about dog vomit fungus in 2006, and, in fact, I was inclined to return to another old fooli: dog's breakfast, which sounds like something you could order at The Slime Mold Café, which could have been the name of that first post (since it fits the Althouse blog model of a "café" post, having a photograph and an open-ended invitation to talk).

6. The OED says:
dog's breakfast n. slang (orig. U.S.) a confused mess; = dog's dinner n.

1915   New Castle (Pa.) News 13 Feb. 2/5   They abandoned the plan, went ahead in their own way, and have gotten their side all messed up, like a dog's breakfast.
1959   Times 29 Apr. 10/4   He can't make head or tail of it... It's a complete dog's breakfast.
2004   Classic Rock Oct. 102/3   The 1974 record..is either the furthest-reaching concept album ever made, or the biggest dog's breakfast in the entire history of the state of California.
7. What 1974 record? Can you guess without Googling? I'll give you another excerpt:
Here, no longer held back by the leashes of a mere rock band, Ray wastes no time wading right into a carnival of jazz and samba, synth and rumba, rock-opera and boogie-woogie, all the while wearing golden Tutankhamun facepaint and global new-age influences on his sleeve.
8. Ray was not returning to his old fooli, but moving on to new fooli. How about you?

53 comments:

Meade said...

This post is spuyng worthy.

BDNYC said...

"vnprudent"

I like that.

Tank said...

7. Guessed correctly - a miracle.

The Doors were my first "favorite group" and Manzarek the only Ray I could think of. I still know the names of all four members. The crap you remember !

Phil 3:14 said...

He can't make head or tail of it... It's a complete dog's breakfast.

Charlie Foxtrot

Rusty said...

The OED is a handy reference.
The story of its inception is quite interesting.

Ann Althouse said...

1. Has anyone heard that record?

2. Is there any chance it could be good?

3. Is the chance that it's good greater than the chance that Chip Ahoy will animate that image of Ray?

4. I like the way the rock music writer said "dog's breakfast" and then "no longer held back by the leashes." We should try to compose another dog-related sentence, bringing in "Doors," like maybe something about the dog needing to go out...

5. ... and spuyng.

Paco Wové said...

We've all seen plenty of examples of rehersithéd fooli here on this blog, but can dogge owners tell me — do dogges truly turneth aȝen to their spuyng?

Ann Althouse said...

"The OED is a handy reference. The story of its inception is quite interesting."

I agree and recommend both of Simon Winchester's books on the subject:

"The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary"

"The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary"

Inga said...

"No longer held back by the leashes", I like that. Things to come?

Mitchell the Bat said...

(1) The more one learns about the historical making of the various versions of the Bible the less connected to any sort of divinity it becomes.

(2) Richard Dawkins made a tangential but interesting point: Don't you think God would have thought it important enough to have told His chosen people about germs?

Joseph Blieu said...

I prefer Kipling's version:

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

I like wabbling.

traditionalguy said...

This year is the 500th anniversary of The Kings James bible. Wycliffe language still tops them all. My favorite is The New King James large print edition.

Ann Althouse said...

I had the theory that "spuyng" became "spew," but the OED etymology under "spew" doesn't prove that, and there's no entry for "spuyng."

Christy said...

"spuyng" for "vomit"... surely, we lost something there.

Maybe not among your crowd, but spewing is quite familiar to some of us. Regional use?

Ann Althouse said...

Christy posted that comment simultaneously with mine.

Ann Althouse said...

The theory that it's related to "sponge" is also not encouraged by the OED etymology:

"Etymology: Old English sponge (accusative -ean) and spunge (spiunge), < Latin spongia, spongea, < Greek σπογγιά, later derivative form of σπόγγος sponge. In other Germanic languages the word appears as Old Saxon spunsia, Middle Dutch spongie, sponge, sponse (West Flemish sponsie, Dutch spons, West Frisian spons, spouns), and in the Romanic group as Old French esponge (16th cent. in Littré), French éponge, Spanish esponja, Portuguese esponja, Italian spugna. Old English had also the more popular and older form spynge, spinge."

paul a'barge said...

"Returneth" is nice (and helpful to those who lisp)

good grief.

Do you even know anyone who has the lisp speech pattern/defect? None of them would lisp the end of the word "return". The lisp shows up at the end of words with a common sound pattern.

I leave it up to you hop on over to google and do fearsome battle with your ignorance.

paul a'barge said...

@Tank: Ray Charles (?!)

Ann Althouse said...

One might also theorize that it's related to "spunk," of which the OED says: "Etymology: Of obscure history; probably related to funk n.1 Compare also punk n.3"

Then, interestingly, to get back to dog's vomit fungus (the original topic of today), the 3rd definition of "spunk" is:

3. One or other of various fungi or fungoid growths on trees, esp. those of the species Polyporus, freq. used in the preparation of tinder. Cf. touchwood n. b.

1665 R. Hooke Micrographia 139 A kind of Jews-ear, or Mushroom, growing..on several sorts of Trees, such as Elders, Maples, Willows, etc.,..commonly called by the name of spunk.
1674 J. Josselyn Acct. Two Voy. 70 There is an excrescence growing out of the body of the Tree called spunck, or dead mens Caps.
1822 J. M. Good Study Med. I. 45 The best ordinary styptic is pressure with an elastic substance, as..touch-wood, spunk, or some other spongy boletus.
1845–50 A. H. Lincoln Familiar Lect. Bot. 199 The genus Boletus contains the touchwood, or spunk, which is sometimes used as tinder.
1866 J. Lindley & T. Moore Treasury Bot. 1089/1 Spunk, Polyporus igniarius.


But the oldest definitions of "spunk" are related to "spark" -- to igniting a fire, so you can't connect that to spewing/vomiting.

Lem said...

How about you?

A new Avatar maybe... but I don't have time right now... but if we are in Jazz heaven, we have all the time in the world.

Christy said...

Not having an OED handy, I must ask, does the entomology for "folly" include "folli," or the Old or Middle English spelling of all words?

Nichevo said...

Speaking of ignorance...Mitchell, why don't you google "kashrut." One of the innumerable things that amuses me in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin saga is the Felix-Oscar tension, reflected in slovenly Stephen's continual reference to fastidious Jack's insistence on cleanliness as "Judaical."

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

I Don't Know About This "dogge" Thing But I Know Some People Considered My Earthly Lyrics Doggerel. That's OK, though: Some People were Groovy, Some Weren't. Anyway, It's All About the Asparagus Ships right Now.

Tank said...

@ Paul

Charles has the right first name, but none of the other variables: CA, group, 1974.

rhhardin said...

Dog, rogue, fool, were used with patronage, irony and sympathy starting in the 16th century, according to Empson, tracing the shift in the essay "The English Dog" in The Structure of Complex Words.

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

Here in Heaven You Can Drink All You Want and You Never Ever "Spuyng". I Don't Think There's Any Part of Heaven That Ain't Groovy, Man. Which is Cool.

edutcher said...

Is this about Choom pushing back the employer mandate?

AprilApple said...

Speaking of dog vomit - I expect the pro-democrat hack media are falling all over themselves with the jobs report showing an increase in part time employment. (not mentioning the part time part)

1. The economy lost 240,000 full-time workers last month, according to the more volatile household survey, while gaining 360,000 part-time workers. In other words, the entire increase in the household measure of employment was accounted for by persons working part-time for economic reasons. The underemployment rate surged to 14.3% from 13.8%.

2. Does Obamacare explain the poor jobs mix? From the econ team at First Trust:

Given the volatility in these data series, we would not put too much emphasis on one month’s worth of data. However, it’s consistent with the large payroll gains for retail as well as restaurants & bars and probably shows some firms who would be hiring full-timers are hiring part-timers to avoid Obamacare.

3. Part-time America: There are 28 million part-time workers in US vs. 25 million before the Great Recession. There are 116 million full-time workers in US vs. 122 million before the Great Recession. In other words, 19% of the (smaller) US workforce is part time vs. 17% before the Great Recession

4. Some context: Even at 195,000 jobs a month, the US would not, according to Brookings, return to pre-Great Recession employment levels until 2021. The “jobs gap” remains huge.


*hiccup*

Lem said...

I recommend Rh watch Happy People: A Year in The Taiga. I think you enjoy it.

virgil xenophon said...

Umm, hate to break the news, betamax3000, and Dead JM Robot should have told you, but those pants weren't leather; they were naught but cheap vinyl..

El Pollo Raylan said...

Somebody always had to sweep the dried and crusty vomit off the sidewalk into the street the morning after a hard night of partying in good ol' Madison, Wisconsin. It was my job once, outside the little the store where I worked in college. It was easier in the winter time because the whole vomit pie stayed frozen until the sun hit it. Easy-peasy to scoop away.

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

In Heaven You Have a Lot of Time On Your Hands. For Instance, I've Learned to Play "Light My Fire" on the Banjo. You Can Be Assured That it's Groovy.

rhhardin said...

Synchrony in email spam

"Celebrating 4th of July at Doggy Gifts LLC"

not that there's anything wrong with the company, last used a couple of years ago, but they do send you mail to lure your back.

betamax3000 said...

Dead Jim Morrison Robot says:

In Heaven The People Who Lent Money to Me That I Never Paid Back are All Cool With It. It's a Righteous Place.

Nomennovum said...

And "spuyng" for "vomit"... surely, we lost something there.

Not really: spuyng = spew.

Nomennovum said...

As in " a dog returns again to his spew(ing)."

Nomennovum said...

See also "spue."

Nomennovum said...

I see I wasn't the first in spewing out this theory.

Skyler said...

I'm pretty sure "dogge" is not pronounced like doggie. The final e is usually a schwa sound in middle English.

William said...

The Zimmerman trial is in recess over the weekend. Let's take this opportunity to refine our understanding of dog vomit.

William said...

The Zimmerman trial is in recess over the weekend. Let's take this opportunity to refine our understanding of dog vomit.

George Grady said...

"Spuyng" would be spelled "spewing" nowadays. Wycliffe's spelling is possibly influenced by the Latin "spuere", meaning to spit.

Paddy O said...

The more one learns about the historical making of the various versions of the Bible the less connected to any sort of divinity it becomes.

I've learned a lot about the subject and I entirely disagree.

However, learning a little bit about the historical making of the various versions, however, does tend to encourage such assumptions. Which is precisely the audience Dawkins is playing to.

ricpic said...

King James ruled once, his Bible rules forever;
From poetic truth its "improvers" do us sever.






rcommal said...

I love those two books about the OED! Strongly, strongly second the recommendation.

rcommal said...

Arguably, though, it's better to return to one's own vomit than some one else's. When one of our dogs tries to eat his own vomit, I'm sorta grossed out, but when he tries to eat our other dog's vomit, it makes me me gag (literally, seriously).

El Pollo Raylan said...

We have two cats and dog. One cat (the younger female) is prone to ralphing, especially after eating too fast. The older male will usually eat it up which aids in cleanup. If the older cat isn't around, the dog will gladly eat the barf of either.

El Pollo Raylan said...

We feed our cats only dry food though, which means there's generally no fuss, no muss, no nasty smell involved.

Blaze said...

Middle is for freshmen. OE rocks:
Het ic pa aelcn mann hine mid his waepnum ge.geierwan and faran forp, and paet eac faestlice be.bead paet se mann se ne waere mid his waepnum aefter fierd-wisan ge.giered paet hine man scolde mid waepnum a.cwellan.

Blaze said...

OE always rocks ME:
Het ic pa aelcn mann hine mid his waepnum ge.geierwan and faran forp, and paet eac faestlice be.bead paet se mann se ne waere mid his waepnum aefter fierd-wisan ge.giered paet hine man scolde mid waepnum a.cwellan.

bagoh20 said...

A close friend who I went out to dinner with last night went home afterward to find his small poodle missing. Then in the back yard he found nothing but the dog's two back legs. The wife and three kids were thankfully not home. They told the kids he got hit by a car. Really horrible for city folk. It was in the middle of a residential part of Los Angeles, but only a couple miles from the mountains. I suspect coyotes, but they were really well into town on this scouting mission.

Ann Althouse said...

Christy, here's what OED says on the etymology of "folly":

Etymology: < Old French and French folie, < fol , fou foolish, mad (see fool n.1 and adj.); corresponding to Provençal folia, follia, folhia, Old Spanish folia, Italian follia.(Show Less)

I think it's not in the OED template to show earlier spellings of the word other than in the example quotes, and I'm not seeing "fooli" in any of the quotes.

Ann Althouse said...

My favorite music Ray is Ray Davies.