Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.


with 4 comments

Hesiod and the Muse
Image via Wikipedia

M. L. West’s introduction to Hesiod‘s Theogony and Works and Days includes the following sentence (referring specifically to the latter poem):

Overall it can be summed up as a gallimaufry of advice for living a life of honest industry.

Now that’s a lovely word I’ve not come across before: gallimaufry.

The Oxford Dictionary of English defines ‘gallimaufry’ as a ‘confused jumble or medley of things’.

It derives from the archaic French word ‘galimafrée’ meaning ‘unappetizing dish’.

You can hear ‘gallimaufry’ being pronounced (in an American accent) on the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.



Written by Wordwatch

26/05/2010 at 5:24 am

4 Responses

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  1. OK, I capitulate. You can borrow the word once a week as long as you polish it regularly and store it in a suitable receptacle when not in use. Btw, thanks for telling me about the Merriam-Webster resource.


    07/06/2010 at 3:34 pm

  2. That is a lovely word, indeed. In fact I cannot think of a superlative to describe how much I love it. I plan to use it as often as I can. So, thanks Deborah.

    Lizi B

    07/06/2010 at 3:00 pm

    • I could be wrong, Lizi B, and call me old-fashioned, but I think I detect a hint of sarcasm in your response. You are forgiven as you made me laugh. However, you’ll be very sorry when the urgent need to use this word next arises chez LB, as I have banned you from borrowing it.


      07/06/2010 at 3:12 pm

  3. Now Deborah: You? Old-fashioned? Never. Now that is sarcasm, and more than just a hint. I genuinely, swear on my hair, love this new word that you have uncovered. I have to report that I have already used it following a meeting with a governmental employee. So, by rights, it has been uttered and can therefore not be banned. x

    Lizi B

    07/06/2010 at 3:22 pm

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