Monday, 15 February 2016

Magpiety

Word of the week; magpiety, a mix-up of magpie and piety dating back to the mid 19th century and coined by poet and humorist Thomas Hood. According to the nice people at Oxford Dictionaries, it means talkativeness and garrulity (an interesting word in itself) on moral and religious topics.

If like me, you haven't heard or read it before, that's not unexpected. While the online Oxford lists it, it's absent in the Merriam-Webster, the Macquarie Australian, Collins, the usually comprehensive Chambers and even the large one-volume Oxford.

But regardless, it's a great term, and I can think of a whole lot of possible applications - as I expect you can too.

1 comment:

  1. Thomas Hood was probably thinking in French when he coined this. In that language, the words for magpie and Pius (the many popes with that name) are both "pie", pronounced like "pee" but don't stretch out the "ee" sound. Piety in French is almost the same, "piété". If you google for "translate pie from french to english", you get both those English words (plus three others). In both languages, the word for magpie, besides the long-tailed crow, has a second meaning, a chatterbox.

    People in eastern North America don't know about this obnoxious bird. I see that in Kiwiland it is considered an invasive species.

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