Miltonic neologisms
Posted: 28 January 2008 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This might be of interest: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2247914,00.html.
I’d always thought Shakespeare had the most but apparently not.  The article obviously means first in print. The article doesn’t say how it knows Milton coined them, though, as many are poetic, it seems likely? Eyeless for blind etc.

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Posted: 28 January 2008 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Eyeless for blind etc.

Where are you getting that?  The article you cite doesn’t mention it, and the OED doesn’t support it: only citation for Milton in “eyeless” is in reference to Samson, where its meaning is literal (his eyes were put out by the Philistines), and Milton is not the first cited.

[ Edited: 28 January 2008 11:09 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 28 January 2008 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yes, as you say, first appearance in print does not necessarily mean that the word was coined by the author in question. The one Elizabethan playwright who was noted (and guyed) by his contemporaries for his inveterate fondness for the coining of new words was John Marston. In one play (Jonson’s Poetaster, I believe) a character representing Marston is given a purge to force him to vomit up all his ludicrous new words, which then come tumbling out of his mouth.

Milton, a great Latinist, may well have coined many of the words that first appear in his works.

Here’s a taster of the scene from Poetaster (Crispinus is Marston):

Tib. How now, Crispinus?

Cris. O, I am sick--!

Hor. A bason, a bason, quickly; our physic works. Faint not, man.

Cris. O------retrograde------reciprocal------incubus.

Caes. What’s that, Horace?

Hor. Retrograde, reciprocal, and incubus, are come up.

Gal. Thanks be to Jupiter!

Cris. O------glibbery------lubrical------defunct------O------!

Hor. Well said; here’s some store.

Virg. What are they?

Hor. Glibbery, lubrical, and defunct.

Gal. O, they came up easy.

Poetaster, V, 1

BTW it’s interesting that OED gives Marston first cite for glibbery only. Other terms are much earlier, and lubrical is given to Jonson himself in Poetaster!

[ Edited: 28 January 2008 09:12 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 28 January 2008 11:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dutch knows ‘glibberig’ with the same meaning. I thought it might be the origin of Milton’s word, but according to EWN both the Dutch word and the English word may have been borrowed independently from Low German (Nederduits) ‘glibberig’.

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Posted: 28 January 2008 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dutch knows ‘glibberig’ with the same meaning. I thought it might be the origin of Milton’s word,

Milton’s word???

What’s going on here?

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Posted: 28 January 2008 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Oops, glanced over aldi’s post too quickly. I meant ‘Marston’s word’. Or should I say ‘Jonson’s word’?. Anyway: the word Jonson puts in Marston’s mouth (and takes out again) but who is actually called Crispinus. Hey, now wonder a guy gets confused.

When I read ‘glibbery’ I wanted to respond right away. Next time I’ll read the whole post more carefully.

[ Edited: 29 January 2008 03:30 AM by Dutchtoo ]
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Posted: 28 January 2008 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The OED does give Marston first cite for “glibbery” (as aldi seems to have added while I wasn’t looking).  He may not have been the source of many of the terms Jonson imputed to him, but then Jonson didn’t have an OED to check.

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Posted: 29 January 2008 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Dr T, I know eyeless isn’t mentioned in the article. I know it from uni days from Samson Agonistes: eyeless in Gaza and also the name of an Aldous Huxley novel. That was just my own miserable contribution :(
Poets hung out together in those days and there are lost texts. Milton might have heard a nice coining on the (poetical) street and thought “I can use that!’ Unlikely, and impossible to establish, anyway.
Hope you liked the link.
Very interesting Marston/Jonson cite, aldi, ty

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