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Words from forgotten fictional characters
Posted: 30 August 2007 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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No slight intended, Aldi, to you or Mr. Rowe. The fault lies with me. Rowe and “The Fair Penitent” are simply (where i’m concerned) in the same category as 65% of any shopping list that isn’t tattooed on my forearm, or burned in with a hot iron.

I like “stentorian”, though the iliad’s not (yet) on my list of forgotten works. I’d guess, though, that a lot more people have heard of it than have actually read it --- like “Das Kapital”, or the writings of Freud.

If we’re counting legend as fiction, perhaps “lynx-eyed” would qualify.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Douglas Wilson, who was the one posting to this thread suggesting jinx, did the spadework that has uncovered the (probable) origin of jinx in the character of Jinks Hoodoo. He is not the author of the play in which the character appears.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Thank you, Dave. How confused is it possible to get? --- My apologies, Douglas, and lots of kudos to you. Dozens of ‘em.

Ed:

You remind me of the man.
What man?
The man with the power.
What power?
The power of hoodoo.
Hoodoo?
You do.
I do what?
You remind me of the man....

(old Abbott and Costello routine. At least I think so. It might have been Faust and Mephistopheles)

[ Edited: 30 August 2007 06:52 AM by lionello ]
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Posted: 30 August 2007 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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pecksniffian, mephistophelian, Darby and Joan (from a ballad)

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Posted: 30 August 2007 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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lionello - 30 August 2007 06:44 AM

You remind me of the man....

(old Abbott and Costello routine. At least I think so. It might have been Faust and Mephistopheles)

Used by Shirley Temple and Cary Grant in “The Bachelor and the Bobbysoxer” (1947) but there may be an earlier version…

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Posted: 30 August 2007 07:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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mutt and jeff

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Posted: 30 August 2007 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Mephistophelian in English is from Marlowe’s Dr Faustus? Goethe said he rated this play.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 08:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Does “jeep” qualify?

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Posted: 30 August 2007 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Pecksniff reminds me of gamp for an umbrella. I’m sure not many now associate it with the name of the sozzled old nurse in Martin Chuzzlewit

“Mrs. Harris,” I says, “leave the bottle on the chimley-piece, and don’t ask me to take none, but let me put my lips to it when I am so dispoged, and then I will do what I’m engaged to do, according to the best of my ability.”

Oh, I miss the old girl, I must read Chuzzlewit again soon!

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Posted: 30 August 2007 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Scarequotes - 30 August 2007 08:37 AM

Does “jeep” qualify?

I guess that depends on how obscure you think Popeye is… not very in my opinion. And then there’s the controversy over whether it’s from Eugene the Jeep or General Purpose.
If Popeye is allowed, then the meaning of goon as a hired thug (not the older meaning of a stupid person).
Is there genericization of wimpy “over there” where they have Wimpy Bars? (I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today)

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Posted: 30 August 2007 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Myridon - 30 August 2007 11:13 AM

Scarequotes - 30 August 2007 08:37 AM
Does “jeep” qualify?

I guess that depends on how obscure you think Popeye is… not very in my opinion. And then there’s the controversy over whether it’s from Eugene the Jeep or General Purpose.

“Popeye” is well-known, but is Eugene? That and the disputed origin were why I thought it was possible but questionable. I really have no idea how much the average person remembers of Popeye’s supporting cast.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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The OP was somewhat inconsistent in its phrasing.  The title of the thread specifies forgotten characters, but in the text of the OP Zythophile asks for examples from works that have faded from public consciousness.  IMHO, Eugene the Jeep would meet the first criterion but not the second. 

I still don’t think that macguffin derives from a fictional character, though I would be happy to see evidence that it did.

[ Edited: 30 August 2007 02:27 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 30 August 2007 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Is “malapropism” common enough? I’d bet a majority of people who can tell you what a malapropism is still don’t know there was a Mrs. Malaprop, and fewer still know of Richard Brinsley Sheridan or The Rivals.

I don’t think “malaprop” qualifies. I’ll bet that most people that use the term are aware that there was a character named Mrs. Malaprop. Fewer would be able to name Sheridan or The Rivals, but still a fair number I would think.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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The OP was somewhat inconsistent in its phrasing.  The title of the thread specifies forgotten characters, but in the text of the OP Zythophile asks for examples from works that have faded from public consciousness.  IMHO, Eugene the Jeep would meet the first criterion but not the second.

That’s because it hadn’t occured to me that there could be forgotten characters from well-known works - apologies for resultant ambiguity, had I thought about it, I would have specified forgotten characters of any sort who had given rise to well-known words, regardless of whether the work they appeared in/their creator was still well-known ...

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Posted: 30 August 2007 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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I can’t think of any way to settle the question, but I think the number of people who use the word without knowing of Mrs. Malaprop is greater than Dave believes. For one thing, the word is plausibly a combination of the prefix mal (bad, badly) and apropos or appropriate (presumably Sheridan had these associations in mind when he coined the name).  So it’s easy enough, when first encountering the word, to assume that it’s a “normal” word, possibly borrowed from French; it’s not obviously based on a name.  And in fact I knew the word for many years before learning it was an eponym.

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