Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dung roaming

One of the purposes of this blog, as well as an outlet for bad jokes and half-formed thoughts, is to add to the general sum of human knowledge, so I hope that the odd reader who stumbles across this post will find it enlightening. Today I am talking crap, for a change.

To be specific, animal crap and how we should describe it. Did you know that there are different words for animal faeces depending on which animal made the deposit? My grandmother always used to just call it "doings", as in "Oh dear, the spaniel's left his doings all over my Jeffrey Archer book", but there is a vast variety of words that could be used, according to The Straight Dope website.

For a start, "fewmet" is the proper word you should use when describing the doings of a deer, as in "the hunter slipped on a freshly laid fewmet and blew his friend's right ear off". Cattle's doings can be called "tath", which suits me much better than "pat". Then there is "guano" (seabirds), "crotiles" (hares), "lesses" (boars), "billitting" (foxes), "spraints" (otters) and "mutes" (hawks - do other birds of prey use a different word?)

The website also lists the very important words "jumentous", which means "pertaining to the smell of horse urine", and "spatilomancy", which is telling someone's fortune by looking at dung. It's a crap job, but someone's got to do it.

Then (and I've cut this list down a lot), there is: "gleet" (phlegm from the stomach of a hawk), "dowcet" (a deer's testicle), "blissom" (to copulate with a ewe) and "caponise" (to castrate a chicken).

Should any of you readers be a bestselling historical novelist (ahem, Angus), I expect those words to be used in your next book, if not even in the title.

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