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10 August 2009

Monday's Word - Aristology


Nothing to do with the aristocrocy, as you might possibly think - this apparently refers to 'the art or science of dining.

The following is taken from a recent feature in 'World Wide Words' by Michael Quinion:

"According to the lexicons, the Greek for dinner is Ariston, The classical Greek word strictly means breakfast or lunch rather than dinner, though we should allow much latitude in translating the prandial habits of one culture into another, not least because the timing of the meal called dinner in England has varied greatly
down the centuries."

This is interesting, because as a Brit I can testify to the variation of 'dinner' in Britain as a whole. To me, having spent most of my life in Wales, dinner is the evening meal, but for many people in England, it is the midday meal.

Further on in the article, Michael Quinion states:

"The word has never become more than a marginal addition to the language, a source of obscure scholarly humour rather than a term of utility. It's best known from books by Rex Stout, in which his corpulent protagonist, Nero Wolfe, has a couple of encounters with a group of gourmets, the Ten for Aristology."

I have to admit to never having come across this word before - perhaps I can find a way of slipping it into the my writing next time the hero and heroine are enjoying a romantic meal together...

*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