Monday, June 04, 2007


[from the online etymological dictionary]

1896, Amer.Eng. from feist "small dog," from fice, fist Amer.Eng. 1805 "small dog," short for fysting curre "stinking cur," attested from 1529, from M.E. fysten "break wind" (1440), related to O.E. fisting "stink."
The 1811 slang dictionary defines
fice as "a small windy escape backwards, more obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies charged on their lap-dogs." Cf. also Dan. fise "to blow, to fart," and obs. Eng. askefise, lit. "fire-blower, ash-blower," from O.N., used in M.E. for a kind of bellows, but orig. "a term of reproach among northern nations for an unwarlike fellow who stayed at home in the chimney corner" [O.E.D.]


There are those of us gushing about the new Feist album &tc. – and if Justin says so, I'll take his word that it's a fine piece of work (his fondness for the less-than-1/2-baked Broken Social Scene notwithstanding) – but when it comes to the artist in question, there are also those of us for whom the present-day rhinestone-spangled shimmy-dancer will never wholly displace images of wee Leslie Feist in cargo pants and dreadlocks, howling, growling, and belting her lungs out with Calgary grunge sensation Placebo*. Ah, to be young, white, and disease-free in 1995!

•Placebo: Spike (via RapidShare)

Leslie Feist home myspace

*not to be confused with the British band of the same name


Anonymous said...

On the subject of living language, are you OK with the idea of using "an" for all fish? As in: "I caught an trout"?

staggerlee said...

Sure. Fish generally get so little consideration, they probably need a completely arbitrary and irrational quirk in the English language to lift their scaly little spirits a bit.