|About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us|
You are not logged in. [Log In] Wordsmith.org » Forums » General Topics » Q&A about words » Two words I can't remember Register User Forum List Calendar Active Topics Search FAQ
#141107 - 03/20/05 05:37 PM Two words I can't remember
Hello. A couple of tip-of-the-tongue questions for all you wordy boffins (no offence):
*I'm sure I remember seeing a word for when Roman emperors gave a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to gladiators. It may be derived from 'pollex'.
*There's a word for the irritation in your throat that precedes a cough that I can't recall. Might begin with 'p'.
Many thanks if you can answer these.
#141108 - 03/20/05 05:51 PM Re: Two words I can't remember
Loc: Marion NC
The second one is pertussis.
Well, I was wrong. Opened mouth without looking. But I THINK it is something like that. Pertussis is whooping cough._________________________
#141109 - 03/20/05 05:55 PM Re: Two words I can't remember
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
The Roman hand gesture voting for a gladiator's death was the pollice verso -- thumbs down.
#141110 - 03/20/05 06:05 PM Re: Two words I can't remember
To add a tiny bit to Father Steve's info, I was taught when studying the Colosseum that the base phrase was pollicem vertere meaning “to turn the thumb”. It is not certain that the popular conception that 'thumbs up = spare him' is correct. Neither, come to that, is there a lot of solid ground for the other thing we all 'know' about the games ~ that they all faced the Emperor's box saying "We who are about to die salute you". I learned that there seemed to only be one documented example of this (Suetonius?) and that was from an execution event (one of the naumachia staged by the nice Claudius!) rather than a gladiatorial contest.
Sorry, can't help with the tickly throat thing.
#141111 - 03/20/05 08:13 PM Re: tickly throat thing
Loc: lower upstate New York
#141112 - 03/20/05 08:16 PM Thumbs up/thumbs down
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Many years ago, when I was a supervisor in a large prosecuting attorney's office, I had to approve or disapprove a hundred requests a day. I bought a small, square rubber stamp on which a fist with a thumb sticking out was printed. I would use it with a red ink pad and rotate it so that the thumb faced up for approval or the thumb faced down for disapproval. I'd put my initials over the fist part and send the document on its way. Funny how you remember things like that. Funnier still that, in the super-serious world of a prosecutor's office, I got away with doing it at all.
#141113 - 03/20/05 09:40 PM Re: Two words I can't remember
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Bingley sent me this:
When a man went down, cries of Habet, Hoc habet! (He's had it!), and shouts of Mitte! (Let him go!) or Iugula! (Kill him!) could be heard. If able, the wounded gladiator would lay down his shield and raise his left hand to plea for mercy, which the crowd signified either by extending their thumbs up or down (pollice verso); turning the thumb upwards and jabbing it toward the heart (pollicem vertere) also was a sign of disapproval, and approval indicated by pressing the thumb and forefinger together (pollicem premere).
#141114 - 03/21/05 01:36 AM Re: thumbs down
Loc: this too shall pass
perhaps you've come across this "hard word", as used by Pynchon:
desuperpollicate - to give a 'thumbs down'
"Mr. Warford peers over at this wife, who for the second time tonight desuperpollicates...." - Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon
#141115 - 03/21/05 07:43 AM Re: thumbs down
Loc: rego park
i have some vague recollection that pollox (or a word something like it) is a name for one of the bones in the the thumb. (and there is a similar word for for one of the bones in the big toe. . . ) does this ring any bells with anyone?_________________________
my other obsession
#141116 - 03/21/05 02:44 PM Re: Two words I can't remember
Thx for the 'pollice verso' one. I found it in Chambers last night. Wish there was a verb though (not desuperpollicate). I'm sure I found that other one on Forthright's Phrontistery so I'll search around there._________________________
Forum Stats 8770 Members
Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members dskoe, Rupak, DeathCake, malagachica, Jamie
8770 Registered Users
Who's Online 1 registered (Tromboniator), 26 Guests and 4 Spiders online. Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
LukeJavan8 103 endymion6 96 wofahulicodoc 93 AlimaeHP 14 Tromboniator 10 BranShea 2 tsuwm 2 sleeper54 1 wsieber 1 DeathCake 1
wwh 13858 Faldage 13803 Jackie 11610 tsuwm 10525 Buffalo Shrdlu 7210 LukeJavan8 6797 AnnaStrophic 6511 Wordwind 6296 of troy 5400 BranShea 5284
Board Rules · Mark all read Contact Us · Wordsmith.org · Top
Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat
© 2014 Wordsmith