Nigel’s bullimong

dr-farragos-burlesque-theater-ground-56Don’t bother trying find any logical connection between that (Bettie Page?) image, and what follows. Regard it as a gratuitous come-on. Unless you feel what ensues is truly a “burlesque”.

The Rentoul connection

In a way, this post, like the previous one could be derived from John Rentoul.

His forbidden list includes terms unnecessarily rendered in foreign languages. So farrago should not be a substitute for good, old-fashioned (which chimes with that other over-worked, clichéd descriptor honest, hard-working) “rubbish”. Perhaps even rubbish is a trifle suspect, as an Anglo-Norman coinage.

First, Nigel

The very name “Farage” sniffs strongly of farrago — as OED:

Latin farrāgo mixed fodder for cattle, hence fig. a medley, confused mixture… A confused group; a medley, mixture, hotchpotch.

Sometimes spelled with the single r, it appears in the OED:

1609   P. Holland tr. A. Marcellinus Rom. Hist. xxiii. ii. 220   In those countries such kinds of farage are mowed up.

And who, in this context, could pass over the citation:

1698   F. B. Free but Modest Censure 29   A farrage of jejune Learning.

By no coincidences:

  • Rentoul’s blog (though not the column proper) has jejune as one of his words with surprising origins — it’s a Anglicising of Latin jejunus, “fasting”;


  • If we refer to the Oxford Latin Dictionary, we find the first illustrative quotation is:

Iēiūnus ieuno bovi dato CATO Agr. 71. [Those hungry cows, again.]

For the pernickety, that bit in full from De Agricultura reads:

Bos si aegrotare coeperit, dato continuo ei unum ovum gallinaceum crudum; integrum facito devoret. Postridie caput ulpici conterito cum hemina vini facitoque ebibat. Sublimiter terat et vaso ligneo det, bosque ipsus et qui dabit sublimiter stet. Ieiunus ieiuno bovi dato.

or, to the linguistically deprived:

If an ox begins to sicken, administer at once one hen’s egg raw, and make him swallow it whole. The next day macerate a head of leek with half-a-pint of wine, and make him drink it all. Macerate while standing, and administer in a wooden vessel. Both the ox and the one who administers must stand, and both be fasting.

Wherever one touches on anything Faragist or Kipper, sympathetic magic seems to be involved.

"Open, Sesame!" sez me

“Open, Sesame!” sez me

Then, “bullimong”

Phew: that one really worries the spell-check.

Would it be a term which might be revived? Could we have a Rentoul thread on rediscovering lost words? Back to the ever-reliable OED:

bullimong, n.

A mixture of various kinds of grain sown together (as oats, pease, and vetches) for feeding cattle. Cf.dredge n.2meslin at maslin n.2 and adj. ε. forms, and Latin farrago.
The hidden gem there is dragee (or as it should be, dragée):
bite-sized, colorful form of confectionery with a hard outer shell – which is often used for another purpose (e.g. decorative, symbolic, medicinal, etc.) in addition to consumption purely for enjoyment.
What we put on our cup-cakes uses the same word the medievals fed to their cattle.
Meanwhile, we may be back to Farage (and why his mock-ideology is truly a farrago), in a more philosophical vein, and in a while [an example of zeugma or syllepsis, should you note].

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Filed under John Rentoul, Literature, Oxford English Dictionary, reading, sleaze., UKIP

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