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#76307 - 07/21/02 10:43 PM Re: noun for socially destructive person
Bobyoungbalt Offline

Registered: 11/22/00
Posts: 1289
Good shot there, TEd. I'm sure I have heard a Yiddish word for what we're looking for, but it isn't coming to me. Need to consult some Yiddish dictionaries or phrase-books. The only English words that come to mind are 'party pooper', 'spoilsport' and 'marfeast', none of which is really it.

In my youth, someone who was always stirring up trouble just for the fun of it was called an 'agitator', but this implies some degree of maleficence, although some agitators I have known did it as a sort of practical joke, like a lot of practical jokesters who have no common sense and really hurt people.

#76308 - 07/22/02 04:08 AM good effort, gold star
FishonaBike Offline

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
I bin all thru that damn Dictionary of Classical, Biblical, and Literary Allusions, with no success

Well, Bravo for trying, MG - and commiserations..

Maybe we're all imagining there is a term, just because there so clearly should be?

#76309 - 07/22/02 09:05 AM Re: good effort, gold star
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...

#76310 - 07/22/02 09:31 AM Re: noun for socially destructive person
modestgoddess Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/18/02
Posts: 833
Loc: Eastern Ontario, Canada
I'm sure I have heard a Yiddish word for what we're looking for...

"Nebbish" sprang instantly to mind, but I looked it up and it means "a timid or ineffectual person."

Back to the drawing board....

Any Yiddish speakers here able to help out? seems a likely source for such a word! (rich language an' all) I keep thinking, though, that it may well be a classical or literary allusion (probably not Biblical). Maybe I should have another go through that dictionary (shudder!).

Let us go in peace to love and serve the board.

#76311 - 07/23/02 08:38 AM Giving up?
belligerentyouth Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Berlin
Well, our friend who started the thread hasn't made any further comments so either he is completely unhappy with the results - or ... well in fact, that's probably it, isn't it.

Let me say that a lot of contenders I looked at for this word - which clearly should exist - are colloquial. As such, they can be interpreted in many ways, and don’t have the distinct meaning that was seemingly desired. One example of this is a ‘booby’. This word certainly fits the meaning but might be thought to mean a myriad of other things too.
Finally, let me say the German hasn’t failed me on this one, with the not entirely unambiguous, but none the less very useful word – der Tölpel – it beats English hands down. What do dictionaries (our Holy Grail – yeah right!) offer for this in English? You’re not going to like this – it’s one of those ‘there is no word for this really, so we’ll include a lot of them’ kind of things. Here is a list of *my over all favourite candidates in an attempt to wrap things up:


If you can’t find one in there you like and want to use then we’d better get started on a neologism. PONS – an authority on the German language, has a competition every year to find new words for things and concepts that don’t exist. Surely there something is similar for our poor impecunious English language floating about.



#76312 - 07/23/02 09:14 AM Re: noun for socially destructive person
Rubrick Offline

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 679
Loc: Somewhere outside New York
> Can you help me with a word? This a noun for someone who
> innocently joins a group, comes to a party, sits at a
> meeting--whatever--and within minutes has everyone at each other's
> throats. It may be based on a mythical beast or malevolent force.
> The effect is pernicious, malefic, and usually completely innocent on
> the part of the individual who usually sees him- or herself as only
> trying to be 'helpful' and frequently comes out of the situation
> feeling hurt or unappreciated.

A Frank Spencer?

#76313 - 07/23/02 09:45 AM Re: noun for socially destructive person
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Gosh, zingo, bellyoungone! Chawbacon was worth reading this whole thread again even though I don't reckon a chawbacon is the socially destructive person sought. That chawbacon just sits on a stump in my brain, chawin' bacon with his mouth open, gazin' at the risin' sun, thinkin' deep thoughts like, "This here's dam good bacon" over and over to the rhythm of his jaws.

Life is good and sweet for chawbacons. You git up, you chaw your bacon, you sit on stumps, think deep bacon-flavored thoughts, you shoot a possum, you drink moonshine, and you pass out cold till the next morning.

Thanks for that little bite of simplicity, bellyouth.

Bacon regards,

#76314 - 07/23/02 02:40 PM Re: Giving up?
Sparteye Offline

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 1773
a competition every year to find new words for things and concepts that don’t exist

[innocent e]

Why would you want to make up words for nonexistent things and concepts? How many different terms does one need?

#76315 - 07/24/02 10:40 AM Some mothers do 'ave 'em!
belligerentyouth Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Berlin
> Why would you want to make up words for nonexistent things and concepts? How many different terms does one need?

There's always one, isn't there!?
Let me restate that:
"PONS has a competition every year to find words for things and concepts that have not yet been labelled."
Happy now?

Rubrick, a "Frank Spencer" is exactly the kind of bloke I was trying to think of but couldn't.
I'm sure that if you said, 'He is a real Frank Spencer!', to pretty much anyone over 20 in England, Oz and NZ then they would know straight away what you're talking about. He's the theatrical epitome of the kind of person we've been discussing, no doubt. Well done my son! You've got my vote for that eponym!

#76316 - 07/24/02 10:42 AM Frank Spencer
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Someone care to enlighten poor benighted USns?

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