January 13, 2020

"Manducate" — it's the word of the day at the OED.



I thought it was one of those neo-words, like "mansplain" and "manspreading," but it goes back to the 17th century, and it means "To chew, to eat; spec. to consume (the consecrated host) at the Eucharist." Examples (from the unlinkable OED):
1624 Bp. F. White Replie to Iesuit Fishers Answere 490 To manducate, that is, to chew or swallow, and to let the Element receiued, passe into their stomach....
1822 Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. 11 161 Whate'er front-tooth can bite, and grinders manducate....
1983 ‘Trevanian’ Summer of Katya (1984) 148 Fell upon the wretched vegetable and manducated it.
"Summer of Katya" is a gothic romance. Isn't it weird that a writer of mere romances would inflict "manducated" on his readers?
How about you? Do you have an appetite for life that ought not to be denied expression? If so, snatch a food item from a living plant, chomp and gnash it, and disgust your companions. Or... any other suggestions on how to display your inner self through outward actions, in the style of a character in a gothic romance?

48 comments:

Roger Sweeny said...

I actually found that erotic.

Bay Area Guy said...

I thought "masticate" was for chewing, hadn't heard of "manducate"

Manducate be doin' that shit around here!

rhhardin said...

Mandibles.

Each night, at the hour when sleep is at its deepest, an ancient spider of the large species slowly pokes its head out of a hole set in the ground at one of the corner intersections of the room. It listens attentively for any rustling that may stir its mandibles in the air. Considering its insect's conformation it cannot do less, if it aspire to increase the treasures of literature by brilliant personifications, than attribute mandibles to rustling. When it has ascertained that silence reigns round about, it draws in turn from the depths of its nest, without the aid of meditation, the various parts of its body, and heads with measured tread towards my bed.

Lautreamont

Wince said...

"And upon my discharge I will manducate, excuse me, ejac-u-tate, my mind to the prophylactic of the bowels of society."

Tina Trent said...

Elderberry
Lycopersicon lycopersicum
Fragaria vesca
Shadbush
Persimmon
Rubus ursinus
Diervilla rivularis

Wild on my land.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Oh, good. I can holster that "fuck off".

traditionalguy said...

The swarthy Knight Errant manducated another fresh village wench. The word probably has has to do with educating young virgins in the arts of erotic pleasure. And of course, the swarthy Knight Errant did not hang himself.

robother said...

Nancy intended to manducate Trump, but her teeth played her false.

traditionalguy said...

That word is too old for the spellcheck guys.

Ficta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nonapod said...

It's funny that "manducate" is so close to "masticate" is both spelling and meaning. English has so many words for same or similar things, more synonyms than any other language.

traditionalguy said...

Seriously, that was a tricky one. Most words with man at the start are about hands since manu is hand in Latin. Now some British snob has manufactured another word from the Latin for Chewing which is mandere.

Gospace said...

Makes me think of my son. He had read that you should compliment your date on something she'd remember. On the first date with his wife to be, at dinner, he said "I love the the way you masticate." She spit her food out laughing.

So there is a benefit to knowing how to properly use obscure words.

Rabel said...

"a writer of mere romances"

Tomcc said...

Hands off my mandible!

Quaestor said...

Trevanian, best selling author of The Eiger Sanction.

Pee-ewe. Open a window.

There's a circle in Hell where novelists are forced to manducate an infinity of thesauri.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Real words and their fake definitions:

Manducate - When older men initiate younger men into the secret orders of masculinity (also see 'Lad Bible')

Mandible - Mens' discussions when topics such as sports, women, cars, or work are uninteresting (i.e. topics pertaining to sheet-rock or the quality of the fish are substitutes as examples)

Mendicant - What men call any cocktail that has double of something.

Menstruate - A happy thing. Something enjoyable when men have free time like playing with the dog, climbing trees, or riding motorcycles.

Mangosteen - A male fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Thank you for femucating us.

narciso said...

well he was a professor of film, he did spy tales like trevanian, which is about data driven intelligence agencies with corporate agendas, caper films like the eiger sanction, where the McGuffin was a critical element, among others,

Amadeus 48 said...

Sweet mother of heaven, was that a romance? That was some great, suggestive writing. What happened next? Katya is certainly more compelling than Kathy would be.

narciso said...

its set in pre world war one Europe, if memory serves,

Char Char Binks said...

NOT cromulent!

gilbar said...

"Manducate" — it's the word of the day at the OED."

so, it's a synonym of Masticate?
I masticate all the time! Usually, a couple of times a day! Sometimes, i'm alone when i'm masticating; but Sometimes; i get with a group; and we All masticate until we're satisfied

Some people think that it's disgusting to masticate with other people watching; but i'd have to call those people prudes

gilbar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gilbar said...

i see that goSpace's comments on mastication came an hour and a half before mine;
Well, with masticating, it's not about who comes first; it's about who masticates best!

Nonapod said...

Some people think that it's disgusting to masticate with other people watching; but i'd have to call those people prudes

I've heard that some families like to get together and masticate in a circle at the end of the day.

Amadeus 48 said...

I knew a guy in the navy who claimed he came in first, third, and eighth that last time he played circle jerk.

Aunty Trump said...

Follow the links and you never know what you might find:

His first novel, published at the age of forty when he was teaching at the University of Texas, was The Eiger Sanction, a thriller that became a worldwide best seller. In 1975 it was adapted as a movie directed by and starring Clint Eastwood.[4] Trevanian described the movie as "vapid" in a footnote in his later novel Shibumi. He requested (and received) a screenwriting credit as Rod Whitaker. The balance of the script was written by Warren Murphy, the mystery writer perhaps best known for co-writing the Destroyer series of action novels.

Saddened that some critics did not recognize the story as a spoof, Trevanian followed it with a more intense spoof,
- Wikipedia

A: The Eiger Sanction is worth watching because the stars did their own stunts in some incredibly precarious situations at high altitude. Seeing a person you feel like you know, Clint Eastwood the actor, not so much his character, in real danger makes for gripping, even stomach churning watching. They could have called it “High Anxiety” if that title hadn’t been taken yet.

B: Now that I see that it was intended as a spoof, I can see why the movie had zero believable plot.

Aunty Trump said...

I can believe that if “Trevanian” was born in Granville, NY his family would decide to move to the slums of Albany, a clear upgrade.

Aunty Trump said...

Off to the Althouse Portal!

gbarto said...

traditionalguy said...
Seriously, that was a tricky one. Most words with man at the start are about hands since manu is hand in Latin. Now some British snob has manufactured another word from the Latin for Chewing which is mandere.

Actually, this one was manufactured by Latin speakers. "Manducare" is a perfectly proper Latin verb for chewing or noshing. The etymology is problematic but it's probably an extended form of the mandere that you cite. It is the source of the Italian mangiare and the French manger (mahn-zhay), which gives us the English word manger. There was also a noun form, manduco, which referred to gluttons. At any rate, if you say that the beasts manducated the hay in the manger, you've got an etymological doublet at work.

Marc said...

I've only read The Eiger Sanction and Shibumi but I think I wouldn't write "mere romances"... oh.

Aunty Trump said...

"Manducate! Manducate! You’re too thin already!"

chuck said...

Didn't Samson manducate the Philistines? With the jawbone of an ass, no less.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Aunty Trump sez: "The Eiger Sanction is worth watching because the stars did their own stunts in some incredibly precarious situations at high altitude."

I concur. I missed it 45 years ago, but saw it recently on cable. Enjoyable flick with younger Clint Eastwood. Somewhat convoluted plot about CIA hitmen, but gorgeous footage of mountains and mountain climbing in the Swiss Alps.

Phidippus said...

Eating, like religion, sex, and marriage, is among those things that do not stand up well to excessive analytic scrutiny.

The Japanese love noodles and slurp them up with noisy abandon. How they do that while keeping their neckties clean is still a mystery to me.

Nichevo said...

1983 ‘Trevanian’ Summer of Katya (1984) 148 Fell upon the wretched vegetable and manducated it.


I remember the summer of Katya.

Haunting last lines:

Envoi

I remember once describing the Basques to Katya as men who never forgive. Never.

During the course of my medical practice, fate delivered a slightly wounded rapist into my hands.

He did not survive treatment.

Salies-les-Bains

August 1938

Tank said...

Tank was Fly fishing with a friend and a guide. The friend caught a three inch trout. The guide made a joke about it, so the friend bit the trout in half and ate it. Yep, that turned the guide a different color.

iowan2 said...

We had just played the board game, "Balderdash", this weekend. The game consists of pulling an obscure word from the cards provided, then each player writes a definition, and the dealer reads all the players submissions along with the actual definition and all guess which is correct. Scoring happens, repeat.

Anyway when I read the title of the post, is lapsed into game mode and my made up definition was the gnaw, rend, tare into mouth size portions before mastication. Not sure if the game would have allowed me to score the points for the proper definition.
This is one of my favorite board games. No strategy,and points for good bullshitting. Allows talking, and catching up with others, and very little thinking.

tcrosse said...

The foundation of every state is the manducation of its youth. Especially if the man is Ed.

Jim at said...

We had just played the board game, "Balderdash", this weekend.

My wife and I do that with Scrabble. It's much more fun.

Phidippus said...

rhhardin @11:55: Please write M. Lautreamont and let him know that those things they bite with are chelicerae, not mandibles, and that they don't hear with them (or "manducate" with them, for that matter). They hear with special hairs on their legs (trichobothria) which are tuned to different frequencies of sound.

Perhaps Lautreamont snores and the spider mistook him for an enormous fly, an understandable mistake especially regarding a French philosopher.

Balfegor said...

That excerpt sounded a bit like Saki -- not what I would have expected from a gothic romance.

rcocean said...

Manchu = Chinese Manducate.

wildswan said...

With a total disregard for my social embarrassment she swerved into a McDonald's and snatched a Big Mac from a tray. And she ate it. Fell upon the wretched slab of meat and manducated it. Chomp, grind, munch, gnash ... and all that was left was few extra ketchup packet's on the floor.
"Perhaps," I said, "she has an appetite for life that being a social justice warrior has denied expression." A slight movement of their eyebrow told me they had seen the same movie.
"It was delicious actually," Greta said. "A bit light on the salt but hamburger and McDonald's sauce, mmm ... I've been sneaking out with an English slag who lived next door since I was eight. That's why I stopped eating Swedish bland. And I saw that movie too, how dare you." "Code Pink," I screamed and ripped open my bodice, revealing...

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mikee said...

My roomie freshman year, an erudite English major, often used "masticate" and "micturate" in his speech, as well as in his everyday life. But he claimed "chewing" and "peeing" were not as elegant, to which I would reply, "Hippopotamus, rhinoceros, both make lotsa dung."

We got along quite well and are friends to this day, 4 decades later.