Punch,  2 (1842), 168.

Prolusiones Etymologicæ



Extract, Spoof


Nomenclature, Philosophy, Disease

    A 'Specimen of a Proposed Philosophical Dictionary' proposing alternative etymologies for several common words and phrases. Entries include: 'Dust—A title originated by philosophers, in respect of its worthlessness, and perpetuated by the swell mob and the undergraduates of the two learned Universities, in respect of its pithiness'; 'Tin—Frequently acquired by brass; species pro specie; possibly from Τιυειυ, to pay'; and 'Oil of Palms—Mataphora venustissima. A specific much in vogue for rigid fingers and horny fistedness; thought, strange to say, it only serves to augment the itch that so often affects the hand. It is absorbed into the system with singular facility, but requires a tremendous squeeze to re-express it'.

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