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Two words I can't remember #141107
03/20/05 10:37 PM
03/20/05 10:37 PM
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orchard Offline OP
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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.

Ben


Re: Two words I can't remember #141108
03/20/05 10:51 PM
03/20/05 10:51 PM
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Marion NC
TEd Remington Offline
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The second one is pertussis.

Edit:

Well, I was wrong. Opened mouth without looking. But I THINK it is something like that. Pertussis is whooping cough.


TEd
Re: Two words I can't remember #141109
03/20/05 10:55 PM
03/20/05 10:55 PM
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Father Steve Offline
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The Roman hand gesture voting for a gladiator's death was the pollice verso -- thumbs down.



Re: Two words I can't remember #141110
03/20/05 11:05 PM
03/20/05 11:05 PM
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maverick Offline
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Welcome, Orchard.

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.


Re: tickly throat thing #141111
03/21/05 01:13 AM
03/21/05 01:13 AM
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lower upstate New York
AnnaStrophic Offline
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post-nasal drip?


Thumbs up/thumbs down #141112
03/21/05 01:16 AM
03/21/05 01:16 AM
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Father Steve Offline
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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.


Re: Two words I can't remember #141113
03/21/05 02:40 AM
03/21/05 02:40 AM
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Jackie Offline
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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).
From Gladiators
http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa041500b.htm


Re: thumbs down #141114
03/21/05 06:36 AM
03/21/05 06:36 AM
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this too shall pass
tsuwm Offline
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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



Re: thumbs down #141115
03/21/05 12:43 PM
03/21/05 12:43 PM
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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?


Re: Two words I can't remember #141116
03/21/05 07:44 PM
03/21/05 07:44 PM
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orchard Offline OP
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orchard  Offline OP
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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.


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