Edwin L. Battistella at OUPblog posts about a magnificent old term that is too little known:

It turns out that honeyfuggler is an old American term for someone who deceives others folks by flattering them. It can be spelled with one g or two and sometimes with an o replacing the u. To honeyfuggle is to sweet talk, but also to bamboozle, bumfuzzle, or hornswoggle.

The word has some twists and turns in its history. According to both the Oxford English Dictionary and the Dictionary of American Regional English, it was first recorded as a Kentucky term in 1829 with the definition “to quiz” or “to cozen,” both of which at the time meant to dupe.

The earliest example in the Newspapers.com database is from an 1841 story in a Tennessee newspaper, the Rutherford Telegraph, in which an editor used the term to mean insincere flattery. He said of the Speaker of the Tennessee state senate that “Some may say it is impolitic of me to talk thus plainly about Mr. Turney, and think it better to honey-fuggle and plaster over with soft-soap to potent a Senator.” […]

Honeyfuggle remained a marginal term, often characterized as slang or as a regionalism, but it popped into the national consciousness when Taft deployed it to characterize his predecessor and then-rival for the 1912 Republican presidential nomination. In a speech in Cambridge, Ohio, Taft said:

I hold that the man is a demagogue and a flatterer who comes out and tells the people that they know it all. I hate a flatterer. I like a man to tell the truth straight out, and I hate to see a man try to honeyfuggle the people by telling them something he doesn’t believe. […]

Where does honeyfuggle come from? One theory, found in Bartlett’s 1848 Dictionary of Americanisms is that it is a variation of a British English dialect word coneyfogle, which meant to hoodwink or cajole by flattery. Coney is an old word for an adult rabbit and was sometimes used to indicate a person who was gullible. Fugle, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is older dialect term meaning “to trick or deceive.” So to coneyfogle or coneyfugle meant to cheat a mark.

Today the OED reports that honeyfuggle is “Now somewhat dated.” Perhaps we should try revive it.



  1. Think irony, then read:

    “NATIONAL HOTEL, WASHINGTON, Sunday, March 10, 1861.

    “The past week was full of important happenings and of noteworthy occurrences. An old Administration retired and a new one came in. The old went out, leaving on record its good and bad deeds, while the new came in with as yet nothing attempted or fulfilled which could in any way affect for good or evil report, its character or its reputation. Instantly, however, its duties were assumed, and for an entire week uninterruptedly, unmenaced and with ease, has the Republican Administration taken cognizance of the affairs of the nation, controlled its actions, and performed in every sense of the term the governmental functions. It is settled, then; that so far as the personnel of the Government is concerned there is no cause for apprehension, Mr. LINCOLN will not be assassinated, Mrs. LINCOLN will not be left a weeping widow, nor will the nation be called upon to rise in its majesty and rebuke with the rod of power, any who should foolishly insult or harm its legitimately chosen head.”

    After that, go on to the rest of the article at


    and you’ll find “honeyfugle.” It also occurs in Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s “Aunt Chloe’s Politics,” online, and Google finds it in a Long Island regionalist novel, thick with apostrophe’d dialect, from 1907.

  2. Is it a cousin to hornswoggle?

  3. I’ve tried to find a pronunciation of honeyfug[g]le at National Jukebox, so far without success. But do hatters know about that deep source of American phonologies, available courtesy of Sony’s pre-1925 Victor Talking Machine Company archive and the Library of Congress?

    The historical power of the resource is on display in the recordings of political oratory that were distributed In the years just before radio. I used to think, for instance, that Woodrow Wilson must have spoken with a southern accent, but at least on formal occasions the Box demonstrates that he didn’t. On the other hand (a pre-radio effect, I suppose), Warren G. Harding speaks with an Ohio accent more pronounced than anything I myself have ever heard in Ohio, with the hard, Minnesota-style R’s that Malcolm Cowley in Exile’s Return attributes phonetically to Hart Crane. And here’s William Jennings Bryan pronouncing “sacrifices” to rhyme with “recognizes,” just as in Kipling’s “Recessional.”


    Elsewhere Bryan pronounces “Philippines” with the accent on the second syllable. And a real (and really racist) trove of dialect humor is the series of duets by Ada Jones and Len Spencer. If you’ve ever wondered what Maggie and Jimmie sounded like in Stephen Crane’s novel, try


  4. If the “-fogle” is somehow related to birds, then “coneyfogle” might be zoological overload…

    There’s also apparently “fugleman”, which is its own thing:

    fugleman (n.)

    also fugelman, “expert soldier placed in front of a regiment or company in exercises as an example to the others,” a mangled borrowing of German Flügelmann “leader of a file,” literally “wing-man,” from Flügel “wing” (related to fliegen “to fly;” see fly (v.1)) + Mann (from PIE root *man- (1) “man”).

  5. David Marjanović says

    Vogler “birdcatcher”

    vögeln “to… screw”

  6. Among “pure Americanisms” reported by Charles Mackay in Life and Liberty in America, or, Sketches of a Tour in the United states and Canada, in 1857-8, (London 1859), vol. 1, 158:
    “To honeyfugle, to gloze, flatter, bamboozle, ‘take in.'”
    Gloze–a negative development of gloss.

  7. AJP Crown says

    Cony is one of those euphemistic names used (esp. in the 1960s) so the rabbit-fur coat buyer doesn’t make the connection to bunnies. I suppose it might get an E in America because of Coney Island (The most popular theory is the name came from the old spelling of the Dutch word for rabbit, “conyn” [kanin also in Norwegian & Germ.], derived from a purported large population of wild rabbits, giving it the name “Rabbit Island”,[19][20] with the name being anglicized to Coney Island after the English took over the colony in 1664,[21] coney being the corresponding English word.).

  8. PlasticPaddy says

    Are we sure the first element is originally coney? A collyfogle would be a (silk) neckcloth/scarf, as well as a doublet for coneyfogle.

  9. John Cowan says

    Hence the German pun-style whereby the same sentence means two different things based only on capitalization.

  10. Wiktionary:

    From Middle English coni, from conies, borrowed from Anglo-Norman conis, the plural of conil, from Vulgar Latin *cuniclus (“rabbit”), from Latin cuniculus (“rabbit”), from Ancient Greek κύνικλος (kúniklos). The original pronunciation was /ˈkʌni/ (for the spelling compare honey and money), but the similarity to cunt (and particularly homophony with cunny) led through taboo avoidance both to the word’s displacement in the main by rabbit and bunny and to the spelling pronunciation /ˈkəʊni/ becoming standard.

  11. Owlmirror says

    Well, “coneyfuggle” made me think of the term “confuzzled” ¹ – I see that m-w has it as a portmanteau of “confused” and “puzzled”, and cites it to a 1994 review of Winnie the Pooh on Management, but I associate it, perhaps wrongly, with Walt Kelly’s Pogo.

    The OED has no confuzzle, but it does have bumfuzzle/bamfuzzle (“To deceive, confuse, or astound”), which it derives from bamboozle, with a note: “compare in similar senses earlier foozle v., fuzzle v., bumbaze v”.

    foozle: intransitive. To waste one’s time, to fool. / transitive. To do clumsily, ‘make a mess of’; to bungle (a stroke, etc.). Golf and slang. (Etym: Compare German dialect fuseln, variously meaning ‘to work hurriedly and badly’, ‘to work slowly’)

    fuzzle: transitive. To intoxicate, make drunk, confuse, muddle. (Etymology: compare fuzz v.3, fuddle v.)

    bumbaze: Chiefly Scottish. transitive. To confuse; to perplex, bewilder; to confound, stupefy. (Etymology: Origin unknown. Perhaps compare bombast adj. 2, bombast v. 2b and also later baze v., bamboozle v.)

    1: We could pretend that the “z”/”g”‘s are really yoghs

  12. David Marjanović says


    I didn’t know that, but the noun Fusel refers to bad booze; propanol (less toxic and more oily than ethanol) has sometimes been called Fuselöl.

  13. ktschwarz says

    pretend that the “z”/“g”’s are really yoghs — but nobody ever wrote two yoghs in a row. Except Orm in the Ormulum! Or as he wrote it, Orrm in the Orrmulum. Biggest fan of double letters in the history of English.

  14. @David Marjanović: Several times more toxic, actually, similar to methanol. (If there were a less toxic primary alcohol than ethanol, people would be drinking it.)

  15. David Marjanović says

    Huh. I remember that chemistry lesson very vividly – either the teacher said it wrong, or I misunderstood.

    (He stressed that butanol was half as toxic as methanol, so, “if we run out of this [pointing at methanol], we can use that [butanol]”.)

    people would be drinking it

    Well, perhaps not if it didn’t get you drunk.

  16. Owlmirror says

    I see, via Google Books, that someone used “confuzzled” in 1977, and in 1893, some humourist wrote: “The street directions are just a trifle confuzzling”. Clearly at least the idea of “confuzzled” is a century older than m-w’s citation.

    I note that the same humourist has one character say “Strain a point” to another. A quick search suggests this means “be flexible”, but usually about a principle, or point of rule or regulation usually enforced.

  17. Isomer confusion? n-propanol is much more toxic than ethanol, isopropanol only slightly more so.

    I actually also remember hearing a claim about iPrOH being indeed less toxic than ethanol, but this does not seem to be the case now that I check.

  18. Owlmirror says

    Wikipedia informs me that there are 2 “propanols”.


    1-Propanol was discovered in 1853 by Gustave C. B. Chancel, who obtained it by fractional distillation of fusel oil. Indeed, 1-propanol is a major constituent of fusel oil, a by-product formed from certain amino acids when potatoes or grains are fermented to produce ethanol. This process is no longer a significant source of 1-propanol.
    1-Propanol is thought to be similar to ethanol in its effects on the human body, but 2–4 times more potent. Oral LD50 in rats is 1870 mg/kg (compared to 7060 mg/kg for ethanol). It is metabolized into propionic acid. Effects include alcoholic intoxication and high anion gap metabolic acidosis.

    On the other isomer: “Isopropyl alcohol (IUPAC name propan-2-ol; commonly called isopropanol or 2-propanol) ”

    I’m more used to the term “isopropyl alcohol”. It’s commonly sold in US pharmacies as a disinfectant; also commonly called “rubbing alchohol” when so sold. It’s probably because of the confused and painful history of ethanol in the US that it is isopropyl. I remember that in the 1980s, my father tried to buy rubbing alcohol outside of the US, and was confuzzled that the pharmacies did not have any. He gave up and bought a 750ml bottle of cheap vodka instead as a disinfectant,

    Back to WikiP:

    Early uses included using the solvent as general anesthetic for small mammals[24] and rodents by scientists and some veterinarians. However, it was soon discontinued, as many complications arose, including respiratory irritation, internal bleeding, and visual and hearing problems. In rare cases, respiratory failure leading to death in animals was observed.
    [. . .]
    Isopropyl alcohol and its metabolite, acetone, act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants.[30] Poisoning can occur from ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption. Symptoms of isopropyl alcohol poisoning include flushing, headache, dizziness, CNS depression, nausea, vomiting, anesthesia, hypothermia, low blood pressure, shock, respiratory depression, and coma.

  19. Lars Mathiesen says

    In Denmark, isopropyl alcohol was available in very small and expensive bottles for cleaning the recording heads of reel-to-reel and cassette tape recorders, back when. It’s what’s used to denature ethyl alcohol in some hand sanitizer gels, at least, so currently I smell it more often than usual.

    As soon as you have more than 2 carbons in a hydrocarbon or carbohydrate, there will be more than one way for the carbons to connect. (It’s usually the carbons that connect and all the other stuff hangs off to the sides, because valency). For 3 or 4 carbons (propane, butane and derived substances) there are two — and the straight one is never the iso- one, that’s a treaty or an old pact or something. There’s an isopentane as well (methylbutane), but also neopentane (dimethylpropane), probably in the order they were discovered. (You don’t need numbers with those systematic names, because symmetry).

  20. David Marjanović says

    I remember that in the 1980s, my father tried to buy rubbing alcohol outside of the US, and was confuzzled that the pharmacies did not have any.

    Iodine-based tinctures are common over here (at least now that phenyl mercuriborate is outlawed – it was striking orange, much prettier than the brown iodine). And then there’s Wundbenzin, a petroleum distillate that I’ve never seen applied to wounds but that is used for cleaning certain things and sold in pharmacies.

  21. AJP Crown says

    It’s difficult to get hold of isopropyl alcohol in Norway too. I could only find it for use as a bathroom surface spray cleaner; I don’t think it’s available in hand disinfectants.

    Isopropyl alcohol and its metabolite, acetone, act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants.[30] Poisoning can occur from ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption.
    Why does the US still suggest applying it to the body? It’s recommended on the internet all over the place, not only at Stanford (“If it Strings when you Flush…The discomfort often gets better with repeated use”), as an ingredient in a home remedy for so-called Swimmer’s Ear.

  22. PlasticPaddy says

    The subtext of this is that Scandinavian governments think their citizens/subjects will drink anything. Perhaps they are correct in this supposition.

  23. AJP Crown says

    Takes one to know one, O’Paddy. Actually my wife is currently distilling alcohol from the tomatoes in her greenhouse and we drink it on special occasions from tiny pink martini glasses. Last year she used surplus apples and plums. Perhaps next time she’ll make rubbing alcohol.

  24. my wife is currently distilling alcohol from the tomatoes

    Does she call it tomatebrygg?


  25. AJP Crown says

    No, this is (allegedly) hard liquor, not beer (ale, whatever). There’s a sort of brewing club here, where people make their own beer (ale). There’s a high monthly fee for membership so I’m not joining but I have tried some and it was very good.

  26. Owlmirror says

    Doesn’t every alcohol distillation have to start from a brew (or wine)?

    [After a quick check, it looks like wines are fermented sugar drinks, and beer-brews are fermented starch drinks. ]

    [I am honestly puzzled as to what tomatoes have to ferment, but I guess some cherry/grape tomatoes are sweet enough to have sugars]

  27. Jen in Edinburgh says

    Rubbing alcohol seems to be essentially the same thing as surgical spirit, which is common enough as far as I know – I’ve just never heard it called that. What do you rub?

  28. Owlmirror says

    Rubbing alcohol has its own Wiki page, linked to from the page on isopropyl.

    The term “rubbing alcohol” came into prominence in North America in the mid-1920s. The original rubbing alcohol was literally used as a liniment for massage; hence the name. This original rubbing alcohol was rather different from today’s precisely formulated surgical spirit; in some formulations it was perfumed and included different additives, notably a higher concentration of methyl salicylate.

    The name “rubbing” also emphasized that the alcohol was not intended for consumption, a significant distinction in Prohibition-era America; nonetheless it had become a well-documented surrogate alcohol as early as 1925.

    [As is usually the case with terms I use but haven’t looked up, I did not know the exact history, although I was pretty sure about the part in the second paragraph] [And I see that the page is also the redirect for “surgical spirit”.]

  29. @Owlmirror: The yeast will actually metabolize all sorts of stuff into ethanol. They do the basic carbohydrates most quickly, but given enough time, they will break down other compounds for energy too (like the plentiful glutamate in tomatoes). A friend of mine was making his own mead, mostly from his own honey, but he tried adding a blueberry flavoring syrup to one batch. However, he left it fermenting too long, and there was nothing left of the blueberry taste except some “off” flavor. The compounds responsible for the flavor had all been catabolized, although not exactly all into ethanol. Like really cheap whiskey, there were trace amounts of other alcohols besides ethanol in his mead, making it very “rough” to drink. However, we found that letting the mead “breathe” for a while, exposed to the air, the undesirable volatiles tended to evaporate off, leaving a much more drinkable concoction.

  30. As soon as you have more than 2 carbons in a hydrocarbon or carbohydrate, there will be more than one way for the carbons to connect. … For 3 or 4 carbons (propane, butane and derived substances) there are two

    Uh no, for propane there’s only one. The difference is in where the hydroxyl radical goes.

  31. AJP Crown says

    Jen: Rubbing alcohol seems to be essentially the same thing as surgical spirit, which is common enough as far as I know
    It’s the American name for surgical spirit. You rub the skin with it before starting the surgery, I expect. I remember London surgical spirit in the 1970s leaving a slight greasy residue when it evaporated.

  32. David Marjanović says

    notably a higher concentration of methyl salicylate.


    (No German Wikipedia article; the stuff isn’t used much anymore.)

  33. @Rodger C: There is cyclopropane (as well as cyclopropanol), where the 60-degree angles are hugely strained, making it a very high energy compound.

  34. Brett: Well, sure, but it’s not either of the forms of propyl alcohol being discussed.

  35. AJP Crown says

    I’ll guess the most discussed Language Hat subjects are, in no order: literature, Russia, languages, linguistics & philology, history, some combination and then a little bit of everything else. So – and I’ve been pondering this for a while, now – why do so many Hatters know so much chemistry? Linguists name drugs, but not all Hatters are professional linguists.

  36. Chemistry and biology. And occasionally architecture.

  37. Half the time I have no idea what people are talking about but it makes my brain fizz pleasantly.

  38. AJP Crown says

    Haha. Mine too!

  39. To combine chemistry (sort of), Russian, and my love for sophomoric jokes (I think, quite well represented in these parts as well) let me tell you about compounds with -propyl- as a second element. For example, let’s take isopropylamine in Russian this is изопропиламин, which can be analyzed as изо пропил амин. The first and the third part have no meaning in non-specialist Russian, but the second part does, I am not sure there is an equivalent English word or a snappy expression, but пропил is a (past masculine singular) form of the verb that means “sold something off in order to by a drink”. Which means that an unknown Izo (an Isaac of sorts?) sold off amin for a drink.

  40. isopropyl alcohol was available in very small and expensive bottles for cleaning the recording heads of reel-to-reel and cassette tape recorders

    I have around some drops’ worth of the stuff as well for cleaning things that denatured ethanol will not clean. Not purchased though but smuggled by my father, who worked as an organic chemist, from his workplace…

    Acetone, the main component of e.g. nail polish removal fluid, mostly covers the same bases though.

    For the linguistics / chemistry connection, perhaps it’s worth something that both are sciences where you build things out of or break them down into smaller components.

  41. David Marjanović says

    “sold something off in order to by a drink”

    The exact calque vertrinken has 36700 ghits.

    For the linguistics / chemistry connection, perhaps it’s worth something that both are sciences where you build things out of or break them down into smaller components.

    Yeah, chemistry is basically grammar, except for the reactions maybe.

  42. J.W. Brewer says

    I am shocked to learn via google that in a world with tens of thousands of different names for different cocktails and new cocktail recipes being devised and named all the time, there is not yet such a mixed drink as a “Honeyfuggle Fizz.” Perhaps I shall have to invent it this weekend. Suggestions for ingredients (beyond the obvious of the basic “fizz” format with honey replacing sugar as the sweetener) are welcome, as are thoughts on whether “Honeyfuggle Fizz” or “Honeyfuggler Fizz” would be the more euphonious name.

  43. I think pure math gets discussed more than chemistry around here. Honestly, i think it’s just a matter of Hat, to his credit, having attracted a group of regulars who are mostly very analytical thinkers. Besides linguistics, we see represented regularly architecture, law, chemistry, math, physics, computer science, (civil) engineering, and I am sure other domains I have forgotten.

    As to chemistry specifically, I was originally meaning to major in chemistry, after having had a good experience in high school working with a nuclear chemistry professor (although ironically, when that work was finally published, the same year I graduated college, it was in a physics journal). I later went back to my earlier plan to do math, with just a minor in chemistry. However, with adding another a major in physics, it was hard to even fit that into my schedule. I could have, had i really wanted the chemistry minor; in fact, I think I took all I needed except a chemistry lab, but the terrible experience I had in Inorganic Chemistry I killed my enthusiasm for the subject for several years. My lab partner (in the physics labs) was even more extreme. He declared a chemistry major early, so he could take an extra class our first spring semester, but he changed majors too. He eventually graduated with a perfect GPA and four majors, not one of them chemistry.

  44. AJP Crown says

    a perfect GPA and four majors, not one of them chemistry.
    Well, so what happened to him, MIT or Harvard Divinity School? It’s true there’s more maths than chemistry, but Language studied maths and it’s applicable to many other subjects (even architecture, for the willing). Chemistry? I don’t see it. Brett & the Davids would obviously know chemistry and JC knows everything; but D. O., Pystynen, Mathiesen, Roger C? Who’s up next, Primo Levi?

  45. Stu Clayton says

    and I am sure other domains I have forgotten

    Luhmannian sociology and related brands of Advanced Thinking.

  46. @AJP Crown: After getting his four bachelor’s degrees, he meandered a bit. He tried political activism, campaigning to eliminate the penny. (One of those degrees was in economics, which, like mathematics, did not require an extra lab class.) Eventually, he settled on biological physics and did indeed make his way back to MIT, where he now has tenure.

    I would personally like to know more about architecture, which I enjoy esthetically but know relatively little about, beyond the basics of static equilibrium.

  47. Rodger C says

    As for me, I was one of those kids that were good at nearly everything in high school, and in 1964 a male student in America went into STEM as a matter of course, because Russians. And in West Virginia, Coal was King and Chemistry was queen consort. I declared a chemistry major, but I soon enough figured out what I was actually good at (and interested in) on the college level, and I switched to English.

  48. It used to be that the major topic here was the iniquity of people who criticized David Foster Wallace. Long before then, knockoff handbag purchase links.

  49. Rodger C says

    I thought it was the iniquity of people who took David Foster Wallace seriously.

  50. Yeah, chemistry is basically grammar, except for the reactions maybe.

    “Reactions” would neatly explain away the gap between Merge and surface structure, methinks. Or does it need something stronger like nuclear fusion?

  51. John Cowan says

    It’s true I know at least something about almost everything, but I have degrees in nothing. So: near the beginning of my current job, I had to fill out a personnel form (after I’d already been hired) which asked for my diplomas and degrees. Not wishing to lie (you can get fired for that), I had to note that I held only a high school diploma.

    Enterprisingly, Human Resources set out to confirm this, so a researcher got in touch with my high school and asked for a copy of my diploma from 1975. Alas, they were unable to provide it in 2020 after a mere 45 year lapse: so much for my permanent record, something that difficult students were routinely threatened with in those days (“This is going on your permanent record!”). So the researcher had to give up, and I kept my job.

  52. J.W. Brewer says

    I am the grandson of a chemist who ended up doing research for King Coal for the last two decades of his life because at the beginning of the Great Depression he needed a job and a government job seemed like it might be a stable job and the Central Experiment Station of the Bureau of Mines was hiring. But by the time Rodger C was starting college in ’64, my grandfather was ten years in the grave and at least with 20/20 hindsight the king’s days were already numbered. I expect that relatively few of the chemistry majors of Rodger C’s cohort ended up in later life cranking out co-authored papers like that 1945 feuilleton “Carbonizing properties of Powellton-bed coal from Coal Mountain mine, Guyan, Wyoming County, W. Va.” https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/005979000

  53. One of my grandfathers was a chemist too, but he hardly ever talked about the topic; he much preferred to tell people about working as a cowhand when he was a teenager. He didn’t work on coal or anything industrial, but got onto the biomedical gravy train early. He was drafted by the Canadian army in World War II, and on the strength of his undergraduate degree in chemistry, sent to the wilds of northern Alberta to do nerve gas research. After that, he got a Ph.D. and had a long career working on antibiotics and blood products for Pfizer.

  54. David Eddyshaw says

    does it need something stronger like nuclear fusion?

    Gluons are obviously just what physicists have come up with as a pale imitation of Merge, the ultimate Theory of Everything. Linguistics envy, pure and simple.

  55. @ John Cowan and others:

    Among the American giants of academic literary criticism in the late Modernist era were Allen Tate (who had only a BA), Kenneth Burke (a college dropout — in, if I recall, his freshman year), and R. P. Blackmur (a high school dropout). From much earlier, there’s the well-worn story about George Lyman Kittredge. According to the legend, Kittredge’s department at Harvard once asked him for a small favor. Just give us a typescript of your next book, said the department, with a title page reading “Submitted in Partial Fulfillment,” and then you’ll have a Ph.D. Won’t that be nice?

    Kittredge, says the story, drew himself up to his full height of something like 5′ 2″ and replied, “Who would examine me?”

  56. Well, so much for faith in legend. According to Wikipedia, George Lyman Kittredge was about six feet tall and, about “Who would examine me?”, “[A]ccording to Clifton Fadiman, ‘Kittredge always maintained that the question [about accepting a Ph.D.] was never asked, and if it had been he would never have dreamed of answering in such a manner.'”

    Must @ myself.

  57. David Marjanović says


    That’s the first time I see that word outside the august journals of the Palaeontological Association.

  58. Lars Mathiesen says

    available in hand disinfectants — as a compulsive reader, I’ve scanned every ingredient list for hand disinfectants I’ve laid my hands on, and while most of the just say “denatured ethanol,” I’m pretty sure one of the said “ethanol denatured with isopropanol.” But maybe it was something else. (I think a lot of the stuff has that acetony tinge of isopropanol, so this is my head canon and I’m sticking to it).

  59. Lars Mathiesen says

    drink anything — there has only been on the order of 30 hospitalizations in Denmark from people drinking hand sanitizer so far this year. Somebody said so at dinner yesterday, so granum salis and all that.

  60. Lars Mathiesen says

    for propane there’s only one — I was counting the n- form as one. There are two isomers, but only one contestant to be iso-.

  61. Showing my age, David M.!

    But about that, and since we’ve recently been on the topics of telephone exchanges and alcohol:


    This blogpost discusses a Prohibition-era flyer advertising what was then called a booze cruise — in this case, a cruise on the ship Orizaba, from whose stern Hart Crane was later to leap to his death. The term “booze cruise” doesn’t appear in the flyer, of course, but Innocently salient among the words that do appear are “congenial companions,” “cruise” and “gay.” You’ll also see “‘phone,” with the apostrophe. I use the shipping line’s New York ‘phone number, John 4600 without the capitalized second letter, to establish a terminus ad quem.

    And about the leap to death, non-English majors, here’s a quiz just for you. To pass, think irony. The question:

    Crane’s father was a wealthy candy manufacturer. What brand of candy (two words) did he invent?

  62. AJP Crown says

    Brett: I would personally like to know more about architecture, which I enjoy esthetically but know relatively little about, beyond the basics of static equilibrium.
    MIT is nowadays rated as one of the best US schools for architecture and you may have access to some good online stuff to review if you have the urge. Architecture school is and always was 90% practising designing buildings and 10% everything else. But within that 10% statics and the other structural engineering courses were some my favorites, though really I enjoyed everything except maybe mechanical engineering (in the arch. school case that’s AC, plumbing & wiring). In the po-mo days when I graduated (1980), there were lots more history courses on the classical language of architecture (Greek & Roman orders) and the renaissance than what’s available to my daughter who’s at arch. school now. Inexplicably, back then there was zero interest in the environment at so-called top US schools; solar power was rarely mentioned (wind- probably hadn’t happened yet) and any enthusiasm was laughed off as being hippy and unserious. Thankfully that has reversed: design in school is all about those things, urban & rural land use, population & public health and related topics nowadays, if not yet in architecture offices. Here‘s my daughter’s Unit’s projects from this year; she has one year left before master’s graduation (no praise req’d, I link it because I like the very different research they’ve been encouraged to do compared to ours which was mostly about finding historical precedents for our ideas). Unfortunately there are still very few architects with a good writing style; that’s the next challenge.

    JC: I have degrees in nothing
    Reminds me of our old friend empty, who has a Harvard PhD based on it.

    Jonathan Morse: R. P. Blackmur has always (ok, once or twice) reminded me of R.D. Blackmore who wrote Lorna Doone and wore one of those absurd beards.

  63. AJP Crown says

    If you have an anaglyphic (red and blue) stereo viewer
    Worth buying one just to scare people out of their wits. A friend of Nietzsche (f.o.n.) who consumed his soup with a straw. Perhaps it could be waxed out of the way, a sort of front ponytail.

  64. I know the answer to Jonathan Morse’s question, taught me by one of the last Freudian critics (he later became a reading specialist), but I’ll leave it for others.

    In America, I think “denatured alcohol” is usually infused with methanol.

  65. AJP Crown says

    Wikipedia takes a̶l̶l̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶u̶n̶ ̶ all the hanging around waiting for the answer out of quizzes.

  66. @Rodger C: Really? The stuff we have in the biological physics lab smells like isopropyl, so I assumed that was the denaturing agent. I suppose I could walk down there and see what it says on the label. (We also have pure ethanol, needed for surface ligand substitution experiments, which is more expensive due to regulation, despite being a simpler product.)

  67. Stu Clayton says

    @Crown: my daughter’s Unit’s projects from this year

    There are a few photos with a “start video” icon in the middle, but it doesn’t respond. Is this supposed to give me some kind of po-mo insight into my expectations ?

    The presentation is very impressive. I can’t now forget the expression “sphagnum moss”. My Eselsbrücke is magnum sphagetti.

  68. Lars Mathiesen says

    Dip12: I found her goat! I think the youtube videos don’t play because there’s a draggable overlay that captures the pointer events.

  69. Lars Mathiesen says

    Around here sphagnum is gotten in your 80l sacks from the local garden centre, it’s good for the rhododendrons.

    Pronounced as if spagnum, though — atmosfære adroitly hides the evil sf- syllable onset (by not being syllabified a la greque) but this one surrendered to phonotactics, not unaided by the spelling I would guess.

  70. J.W. Brewer says

    As promised, I have now invented, mixed, and drunk the world’s first Honeyfuggle Fizz. The version 1.0 recipe, should you wish to follow suit, is:

    1 oz. rye whiskey
    1 oz. oude genever
    3/4 oz. lemon juice
    1/2 oz. honey
    1/4 oz. pimento dram
    1 egg white
    soda water

    Dry shake all ingredients except soda water. Add ice and shake again. Strain into snifter (why not?) and top with soda water. [For the benefit of metricated furriners, 1 oz. is approximately 30 ml.]

  71. I was just disappointed to learn that pimento dram does not, in fact, contain pimento.

    I have only co-invented one cocktail in my life, the Smooth Honkey, and it was not a success.

  72. J.W. Brewer says

    “Pimento” is a noun with multiple senses and the proposition “pimento dram does not contain pimento” is true for sense 1 in this reference but false for sense 2. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pimento (I believe sense 2 may be more common in Jamaican English than in AmEng, but pimento dram is a Jamaican potation.)

  73. David Marjanović says

    And there I thought allspice (unknown this side of the Pond) was a mixture…

  74. AJP Crown says

    allspice (unknown this side of the Pond)
    wiki – so I can’t guarantee the accuracy but the tenor is right:

    Allspice (P. dioica) was encountered by Columbus in Jamaica during his second voyage to the New World, and named by Diego Álvarez Chanca. It was introduced into European and Mediterranean cuisines in the 16th century […] Even in countries where allspice is not very popular in the household, as in Germany, it is used in large amounts by commercial sausage makers. […] Allspice is indispensable in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in the Levant, where it is used to flavour a variety of stews and meat dishes. In Arab cuisine, for example, many main dishes call for allspice as the sole spice added for flavouring. Allspice is commonly used in Great Britain, and appears in many dishes, including cakes. In Portugal, whole allspice is used heavily in traditional stews cooked in large terracotta pots in the Azores islands. It is used in Turkey as a supporting spice, accompanying cumin, in meaty dishes, such as meatloaf (kofte).

  75. AJP Crown says

    Sphagnum preserves Danish, English & Irish bog bodies (so I’m told). I’ve always pronounced it “sfag-” though I’m not sure I could define “always”. There’s a huge fuss currently, at least in Norway, about carving up ancient peat bogs and flogging the contents at garden centres; my wife told me I must read the small print when I buy bags.

    Lars: Dip12: I found her goat!
    This one? That’s Vesla, half sheared; the smallest goat and the only one with her own library to snack on.

    Stu: My Eselsbrücke is magnum sphagetti
    Likewise. My pons for magnum spaghetti will be “sphagnum”.

    The presentation is very impressive.
    I thought the same, but on the other hand architecture school runs on Parkinson’s Law and 4 hours of sleep, which I find sick, (plus nowadays Autocad and video programs like Blender).

  76. @Brett: You may well be right nowadays, or I may have been mistaken in the 60s.

  77. Trond Engen says

    J. W. Cocktail Brewer: 1/4 oz. pimento dram

    Or two drams of dram, as it were.

  78. David Marjanović says

    it is used in large amounts by commercial sausage makers

    Of course “goes into sausage” counts as “unknown”! 🙂 I admit I was wondering about Britain, but too lazy to look it up.

    Sphagnum preserves Danish, English & Irish bog bodies (so I’m told).

    Well, yeah. Rotting Sphagnum is what peat is.

  79. Allspice is wonderful stuff, equally useful in meat dishes and desserts.

  80. Jen in Edinburgh says

    How do you dry shake things which are wet?

  81. J.W. Brewer says

    @JenInEd: That’s an excellent question, to which all I can say is that “dry shake” (meaning “shake without any ice in the shaker”) must be one of them thar non-compositional idioms in the “cocktail recipe” register of AmEng.

    @Trond: “Dram” in the specific-unit-of-volume sense is so obsolete in AmEng I had to look it up to understand your point. FWIW, in the cocktail-recipe register of AmEng the standard way to refer to that volume is a “barspoon” (25% less than a teaspoon).

  82. Jen in Edinburgh says

    ‘Dram’ here just means a serving of whisky these days – I don’t think you could drink a dram of e.g. gin, and I don’t think there’s much idea of it being a particular size.

    I had no idea it was the same word as drachm – I vaguely thought it was Gaelic (which it is, but presumably in the other direction).

  83. Lars Mathiesen says

    Vesla has/had that judges-you-in-Goat look down pat.

    I don’t think Denmark has had much in the way of never-exploited peat bogs for centuries, also I thought that cutting up the peat and drying it would release carbon dioxide far beyond what it’s use as fuel would normally entail. Down here they are talking about re-wetting former wetlands that were drained for agriculture last century because that will recapture greenhouse gases.

    Also I never heard about rhododendron fanciers finding parts of bronze age people in their sphagnum. Not to say it never happens, but it’s not seen as a major risk.

    DM will remember allspice for Danish allehånde. Sausage, yes, but also pepper cakes and pickled herring. It’s done the rounds here a few times.

  84. Trond Engen says

    Jen: ‘Dram’ here just means a serving of whisky these days

    Norw. dram is a rustic or oldfashioned word for “strong drink” — often but not necessarily homemade liquor. When papers still had personal ads, 50 year old males “with sincere purposes, looking for a woman for a shared future” often used the formula … men tar gjerne en dram i lystig lag. “.. but enjoys a drink in good company”.

    @JWB: The relation to drakhma is well enough known (at least here) that I thought of looking up the unit of measurement to score (one eighth of) a point.

  85. David Marjanović says

    DM will remember

    …Not sure if I do or if I’m constructing a hint of such a memory right now.

    Anyway, over here, Piment is a common ingredient in spice mixtures, and French distinguishes piment doux from piment fort.

  86. I understand that Japanese ピーマン piiman ‘capsicum’ is from pimento (or pimiento).

    I had heard of but did not know anything about allspice. It’s apparently known in Chinese as 多香果 duōxiāngguǒ ‘many fragrance fruit’ (or 众香子 zhòngxiāngzi ‘many fragrance’ or 牙买加胡椒 Yámǎijiā hújiāo ‘Jamaican pepper’) and in Japanese as オールスパイス ōrusupaisu (of course).

  87. AJP Crown says

    I mentioned Danish bogman really to have an excuse to show the remarkable resemblance between a man who died more than two thousand years ago and Max von Sydow, a man from adjacent Lund (and seen here in The Seventh Seal) – down to the matching two-day stubble.

  88. John Cowan says

    Allspice, tarragon, and minced onions are the mainstays of my plain cooking.

  89. David Marjanović says

    Mmm, tarragon sauce. *Homeric drool*

  90. the world’s first Honeyfuggle Fizz

    Four Japanese home cocktail recipes starring The SG Shochu


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