Posted: 22 August 2012 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  4112
Joined  2007-02-26

Decal, it turns out, is short for decalcomania, which is a name for an artistic technique.

From de- ("off"), calcare ("press") ... and -mania.

Why mania? Any insights? Any other examples of -mania being used other than representing a craze, illness or enthusiasm?

Posted: 22 August 2012 10:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  307
Joined  2007-02-16

"If you’re into decalcomania
When you tell folks they say, please explania
Does it make you depressed
To be decal obsessed?
And they look at you like you’re insania”

From: for “why mania?”

Posted: 23 August 2012 03:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  6646
Joined  2007-01-03

While those roots are correct, decalcomania is actually an 1860s borrowing from the French d├ęcalcomanie. You’d have to look at how -mania or -manie has been used in French to get an answer.

My speculation though, is that it’s just the “enthusiasm, craze” sense. Evidently it was something of a fad in the early 1860s.

Here’s an early cite, in English, of the French word that’s not in the OED, from Eleanor’s Victory, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, 1863:

If a young gentleman now-a-days spends money in the purchase of a private box at Covent Garden, and an extra guinea for a bouquet, or procures tickets for a fashionable flower show, and is content to pass the better part of his mornings amidst the expensive litter of a drawing-room, watching his beloved in the messy mysteries of Decalcomanie, he may be supposed to be quite as sincerely devoted as if he were to plant his ladies point-lace parasol cover in his helmet, and gallop away with a view to having his head split open in her service.

‹‹ Amn't I?      HD: Dan Castellaneta on D'oh ››