Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rex Murphy's Favourite Word: "Chalcenterous"

During the June 28, 2012 CBC News/The National broadcast, Rex Murphy told Peter Mansbridge that one of his most favourite English words is "chalcenterous" as in "chalcenterous courage", which apparently is an essential attribute of being a (Newfoundland) politician.

As suggested by Rex, I look up its meaning and sure enough, chalcenterous means: having bowels of brass, which implies being tough.

Indeed, an on-line Chinese dictionary also lists "chalcenterous" as an adjective that means 铁石心肠的 (hearts and guts made out of iron and rock), 坚强的 (hard, solid, strong), 铜筋铁骨的 (tendons of bronze and bones of iron).

So far so good !!

However, according to Wikipedia, the word chalcenterous is actually the name of a Greek scholar called Didyumus Chalcenterus.

"..... The surname "bronze-guts" came from his indefatigable industry: he was said to have written so many books that he was unable to recollect what he had written in earlier ones, and so often contradicted himself. (Athenaeus records that he wrote 3500 books; Seneca gives the figure of 4000.) As a result he acquired the additional nickname βιβλιολάθης "book-forgetter" ....."

So it appears to me that "chalcenterus - bronze guts" was originally used to describe the old scholar's writing capacity but 2075 years later, is interpreted as being solid, strong and tough.

Anyway, I don't think any politicians here in Ottawa will fit the "chalcenterous" bill. Some might have scribbled thousands of talking points, but not books. And definitely, not too many can be described as having "chalcenterous courage" if all they do is to use weasel words to answer a direct question from Rex :DDDD


the inner space said...

and who is Rex Murphy?

who is Peter Mansbridge ?


Haricot 微豆 said...

Space: Yeah, they are Canadian broadcasters working for the CBC.


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