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pertaining to poetry.
The adjective Parnassian originally meant “pertaining to Mount Parnassus,” a mountain in central Greece on which Delphi is located. Delphi was sacred to Apollo as the god of prophecy and the god of music, which he shared with the Muses, the goddesses of music, poetry, drama, history, and dancing. Parnassian comes via the Latin adjective Parnassius (also Parnāsius) from Greek Parnā́sios, the adjective derivative of Parnās(s)ós. Sixty percent of Greek words have no reliable etymology: Parnās(s)ós is one of them. Parnassian entered English in the second half of the 16th century.
His granular, giddy analysis of Scottish bard William Topaz McGonagall, “widely acclaimed as the worst poet in history,” fascinates as the negative expression of a Parnassian ideal. It’s also comedic gold.
With some major performers, this approach might have been revelatory, showing the thunderbolts of inspiration behind the poetry. But with songs containing lines like “I’m dancing in the dark with you between my arms” or “When I was six years old I broke my leg … I was younger then,” we’re not exactly in the realm of Parnassian transcendence.
out-of-doors; in the open air.
Very many people became used to dining alfresco in 2020. In Italian al fresco means “in the fresh air, in the cool air,” and is composed of the prepositional phrase al “to the” (from the preposition a “to, on,” and the masculine singular article il, lo, and the adjective fresco “cool, fresh”). Italian fresco comes from Old High German frisc (English fresh and modern German frisch). The Italian noun fresco “painting or a painting on a fresh, moist, plaster surface with colors ground up in water,” entered English at the end of the 16th century. In contemporary Italian slang, al fresco means “in prison” (prisons formerly being cold, dark, dank). Alfresco entered English in the first half of the 18th century.
This being spring, waiters in red jackets with gold buttons dart in and out of the kitchen to ferry drinks from the bar and dishes from the kitchen to those of us wishing to dine alfresco.
Working from one of the apartment’s two rooms getting a little tedious? Time to upgrade their Wi-Fi router and take calls and Zoom meetings alfresco.
showy but inferior and worthless.
Brummagem, an adjective and noun meaning “showy but inferior and worthless; something of that kind,” comes from the local Birmingham (England) pronunciation of Birmingham. The original (and standard) spelling and pronunciation of the city is bir-; the nonstandard or dialect spelling bru– is an example of metathesis, the transposition of sounds, a very common phenomenon. Compare Modern English bird with Middle English brid (brid was the dominant spelling until about 1475; the spelling bird is first recorded about 1419). The name Birmingham is first recorded as Bermingeham in William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book (1086); spelling variants with Br- first appear in 1198 as Brumingeham. In the mid-17th century Birmingham was renowned for its metalworking and notorious for counterfeit coins. Brummagem entered English in the second half of the 17th century.
In an effort to brighten up austerity-ridden Britain, the Southern Region of the state-owned railway system devised a pub-on-wheels (bar car) which was supposed to be very quaint. The outside of the car features leaded windows, cream panels, false brickwork and fake timbers, and the motif of brummagem antiquity is carried on inside.
Anthony lay upon the lounge looking up One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Street toward the river, near which he could just see a single patch of vivid green trees that guaranteed the brummagem umbrageousness of Riverside Drive.