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27 July 2009

Monday's Word

Weird Words: Titivil

A useful little creature for fantasy writers!

According to Michael Quinion*:

"Paul Harvey in 1938, wrote in The Oxford Companion to English Literature that “Titivil was evidently in origin a creation of monastic wit.”

"A titivil was a very specific kind of tale-bearer. He was a devil whose job was to collect up the fragments of words or phrases that monks skipped or mumbled while they were reciting divine service. He took them down to Hell, where they were logged against the offender. " A good way of ensuring the Monks took their prayers seriously! Michael Quinion goes on to say: "Titivil escaped from the cloisters into the medieval mystery plays and from there into the colloquial language as a mischievous tale-bearer or more generally a ne’er-do-well or scoundrel. He vanished from common usage around the beginning of the seventeenth century and this is among his last appearances."

Well I predict Titivil might be about to reappear. After all for we fantasy romance writers, there always has to be a 'fly in the ointment' a 'bad guy' who comes between the hero and heroine.


*Thanks to Michael Quinion of WORLD WIDE WORDS. World Wide Words is copyright (c) Michael Quinion 2009. All rights reserved. The Words Web site is at http://www.worldwidewords.org


By the way, I'd like to thank everyone who voted for 'Children Of The Mist' for 'Book Of The Week' at LASR. I was 'pipped to the post' and came second, so not too disappointed, although the 'best book' award woud have been the icing on the cake. With such a fantastic review though, I'm well pleased, but I do appreciate everyone who was kind enough to vote. There's still time to vote for the covey cover award, if you've a mind too, I'd love my cover artist, Tamra to be rewarded for my lovely cover.