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#123974 - 02/26/04 07:40 PM grotesque
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
In a Sherlock Holmes story, Holmes asks Watson to define
"I suppose, Watson, we must look upon you as a man of letters," said he. "How do you define the word 'grotesque'?"

"Strange--remarkable," I suggested.

He shook his head at my definition.

"There is surely something more than that," said he; "some underlying suggestion of the tragic and the terrible."

grotesque (from AHD)

ADJECTIVE: 1. Characterized by ludicrous or incongruous distortion, as of appearance or manner. 2. Outlandish or bizarre, as in character or appearance. See synonyms at fantastic. 3. Of, relating to, or being the grotesque style in art or a work executed in this style.
NOUN: 1. One that is grotesque. 2a. A style of painting, sculpture, and ornamentation in which natural forms and monstrous figures are intertwined in bizarre or fanciful combinations. b. A work of art executed in this style.
ETYMOLOGY: From French, a fanciful style of decorative art, from Italian grottesca, from feminine of grottesco, of a grotto, from grotta, grotto. See grotto.
OTHER FORMS: gro·tesquely —ADVERB

#123975 - 02/27/04 09:30 AM Re: grotesque
Fiberbabe Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 771
Loc: Portland, Oregon
For the record, the figures often found on the eaves of cathedrals are only gargoyles if they mask a downspout. If they're just there ornamentally, they're grotesques...

*Finally* somewhere to spit out my useless trivia!

#123976 - 02/27/04 11:25 AM Re: grotesque
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
So now we know "grotesques" can't gargle.

#123977 - 02/27/04 11:27 AM Re: grotesque
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
They can't gargle oil, anyway.

#123978 - 02/27/04 11:44 AM Re: grotesque
jheem Offline

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1475
Loc: California
A-H: "Middle English gargoile, from Old French gargole, gargouille, throat, waterspout." Gargle, gurgle, and gargoyle all seem to be related. Meyer-Lübke gives garga (onomatopoeic word) 'to gargle, gurgle'. Kluge suggests that German Gurgel was an early loanword from Latin gurgulio 'gullet, weasand, windpipe' (although it was also a slang term for penis). Weasand is a great word I hadn't run across before. Gullet is from Latin gula via French. So the meaning of gargoyle when the part to the whole.

#123979 - 02/27/04 11:54 AM Re: grotesque
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Webster 1913 defines "weasand" as "windpipe".
I wonder if "wheeze" is related.

#123980 - 02/27/04 12:11 PM Re: grotesque
jheem Offline

Registered: 01/06/04
Posts: 1475
Loc: California
No, they do not seem to be. OE wásand and ME whesen (perhaps from ON hvæsa 'to hiss', related to Latin queror, -i, questum 'to complain; warble (of birds)').

#123981 - 09/11/04 10:07 AM Re: grotesque
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
*Finally* somewhere to spit out my useless trivia!

Delightful trivia, FB! Just read this thread and will pass on your trivia about the distinction between gargoyles and grotesques to my charges ASAP. Consider yourself a pebble cast into still waters.

#170936 - 10/28/07 08:37 PM Re: grotesque [Re: Wordwind]
Dogin123 Offline

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 1
Aldous Huxley

#170940 - 10/29/07 01:27 AM Re: grotesque [Re: wwh]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5295
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
This thread pops up like a ghost from the past just like the 'Grottesche', where the word comes from, were dug up from the underground:

The name Grottesche, like Benvenuto Cellini explains in his autobiography, comes from the grottos of the Esquilino hills in Rome that were in fact the underground remains of the Domus aurea of Nero, discovered in 1480 and immediately becoming a popular item for the painters of that time, who took the challenge to study the fanciful, bizarre rediscovered paintings.


Just to add something to the Etymology of wwh's first post in 2004 . Gargoyles are grotesqe but the word come from gargouille, Old French for throat. Grotesqe from 'grottesche'.

* Do I see zmejhz here in before the metamorphosis?*

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