word of the day

I need to add “panjandrum” to my vocabulary. For its pleasing cadence as much as its daily applicability.

PANJANDRUM : A mock title for a person, real or imaginary, who has or, claims to have, great influence or authority.

The actor Charles Macklin was unwise enough to claim as part of a lecture on memory that his own was so highly trained he could remember any text he had read just once. [Samuel] Foote composed on the spot as a challenge a bit of nonsense that has since become famous:

So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf to make an apple-pie; and at the same time a great she-bear, coming up the street, pops its head into the shop. “What! No soap?” So he died, and she very imprudently married the barber; and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch as catch can till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots.

It is said that Macklin was so indignant at this nonsense that he refused to repeat a word of it.

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