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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
What Part Of Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" Don't You Understand?

"Geezer" seems a little old-fashioned now, though Paul Whitehouse revived it in the nineties in The Fast Show. According to Merriam-Webster and the free dictionary, it is the same word:

The English Dialect Dictionary defines geezer as “a queer character, a strangely-acting person,” and refers the reader to guiser, “a mummer, masquerader.” The citations for guiser refer to practices such as the following: “People, usually children … go about on Christmas Eve, singing, wearing masks, or otherwise disguised,” the last word of this passage being the one to which geezer is related. --Mary Jackson

Mary Magdalene-Jackson -- do you own Wright's English Dialect Dictionary? And if so, the original, or the 1962 reprint?

By the way, there are German rivers named Aa. There was the Dutch map-maker van der Aa, as prolific in his production as Herman Moll. There is the "aa" you utter on command for the ear, nose, and throat man with that tongue depressor. There is the famous Hidden Aa-Aa or Ha-Ha (depending on whether you choose to recognize a rough breathing mark), that played such havoc with the Viking horses at that Three-Day Eventing in which Harold the Red lost his ffrench ffooting on the Norman course.

I hope you realise that the first barrel of my surname is pronounced like the Cambridge college, not the Oxford one.

No, but I have Wright's Grammar of the Gothic Language. I'm the only person in my street to have this. My neighbours keep asking to borrow it so they can talk to the Goths and the Vandals who hang around near Camden tube station. Unfortunately, like a lot of my books, it's packed in a box underneath a lot of other boxes. --Mary Jackson

If you had it -- the eight-volume 1962 edition, liable to keep its shape for a bit longer than the original -- I would have made an offer. I need another copy for the pied-a-terre in the woods or on water that I hope one day to buy. But that day awaits the dawning, on some well-heeled readers of this site, that the best way to express gratitude for the profit and pleasure they derive daily from it, is to send a token of that gratitude for that profit, for that pleasure. Amazing how people can continue to assume that we who work for free somehow have the means to do it, so obviously don't need it, when those of us who must spend valuable time cliipping, not the coupons, of the rentier in the stories of yore, but those of the housewife, in the reality of today, all in order to save 35 cents here on a roll of Bounty, and a dollar off there on some Perdue chicken. Really: is this our, is this my, highest and best use? And all the other salti mortali that one must perform to stay afloat?

Check, money order, beloved PayPal, it doesn't matter.

Posted on 01/31/2007 1:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
1 Feb 2007
Hugh Fitzgerald
Geezer, or guizer, according to Wright: ?a queer character, a strangely-acting person." A good translation, then, of the word "chudak" as used by Pushkin in Eugene Onegin, and which Nabokov translates, a little unsettlingly, as "quiz."