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7 February 2011

Monday's Word - Metagrobolise

Once again I'm turning to Michael Quinion's* informative site for today's 'Word'

If you're a writer of romantic suspense, then you're a master of this word already.
On his site, Michael Quinion says:

" ...That’s what the word means — to puzzle, mystify, baffle or confound. It and its relatives are notable by their extreme rarity. A diligent search is required to find any instances of it...

...Peter Motteux introduced the English to the word metagrobolise in 1693 when he published his revised version of Sir Thomas Urquhart’s translation of the works of Rabelais: “I have been these eighteen days in metagrabolising this brave speech”. A footnote says that it was “a word forged at pleasure, which signifies the studying and writing of vain things”. However, one French edition suggested it was a burlesque word meaning “to give a lot of trouble for nothing, to bore and annoy others”.

How appropriate that it should confuse writers as to what it means."

Well I don't think the boring part of the above applies to any of my writer friends, I'm always entranced and enthralled by writers of suspense such as my friends Miss Mae and Sharon Donovan, to name but two.
They certainly know how to build a puzzle though, and have the reader on the edge of her seat as she tries to unravel it! Puzzled and metagrobolised!  Now tell me you won't be using that word from now on, at every opportunity! :)

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion 2011. All rights reserved

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