Snortomaniac Hyperbolic Pylorectomy.

John Cowan sent me a link to this webpage, which, alas, I have been unable to access, but the quote is too good not to repost, so I’m copying it from his e-mail:

In Gelett Burgess’ 1911 novel Find the Woman, a truck driver blocks the way of a parade organized by a society to ban profanity. He is addressed by Dr. Hopbottom, the society’s head:

See here, you slack-salted transubstantiated interdigital germarium, you rantipole sacrosciatic rock-barnacle you, if you give me any of your caprantipolene paragastrular megalopteric jacitation, I’ll make a lamellibranchiate gymnomixine parabolic lepidopteroid out of you! What diacritical right has a binominal oxypendactile advoutrous holoblastic rhizopod like you got with your trinoctial ustilaginous Westphalian holocaust blocking up the teleostean way for, anyway! If you give me any more of your lunarian, snortomaniac hyperbolic pylorectomy, I’ll skive you into a megalopteric diatomeriferous auxospore! You queasy Zoroastrian son of a helicopteric hypotrachelium, you, shut your logarithmic epicycloidal mouth! You let this monopolitan macrocosmic helciform procession go by and wait right here in the anagological street. And no more of your hedonistic primordial supervirescence, you rectangular quillet-eating, vice-presidential amoeboid, either!

The truck driver apologizes: “I see a plain, sea-faring man has no show with a doctor when it comes to exhibiting language in public. … If this here society what’s running this here procession can turn out graduates of the noble art of profanity like you are, I want to say this: Give me the pledge, and I’ll sign it.”


  1. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Interesting (and amusing). I had no trouble with the link, but it doesn’t contain anything more than what you’ve quoted. However, it may be worthwhile exploring the site more extensively.

  2. Jhieroenymous van 't Blad says

    In Dutch train stations and sometimes bus stops you can find posters from the “Bond tegen vloeken” (Anti-cursing league). The sordid-tongued reader will readily guess some of the gestures and words with which I express my appreciation of their efforts.

  3. I think “jactitation” is missspellled.

  4. For some reason, Dr Hopbottom reminds me of Captain Haddock.

  5. “Westphalian holocaust” probably doesn’t function so well anymore. For this trope to work (as with Capitaine Haddock) the taboo has to be replaced with the far-fetched and barely penetrable (though ultimately analyzable as innocuous). So the impression of “profanity” comes from the rhythm, tone, and context rather than the semantics (which says a lot about the semantics of profanity) and the comedy from the intuition that these are not taboo words at all, and also from the virtuosity of their far-fetchedness. But “Westphalian holocaust” is not as far-fetched or innocuous as it was in 1911.

    PS – as when Capitaine Haddock calls some low life a “schizophrène” or “Aztec”, today I would think this would suggest too much real contempt for certain persons/peoples to be effective.

  6. January First-of-May says

    Каррамба кракатоа мелинсфунд, пепермент доминант септ аккорд олеонафт!

    I personally also tend to curse with random words, though they’re a lot less impenetrable, and typically a lot more nonsensical (my favorite curse phrase is “triangular jaguar”).

  7. The Doctor makes grammatical sentences, whereas the Captain just uses individual epithets without any connective tissue.

  8. “Francis Urquhart” is my favorite minced oath.

  9. “You keep leaving little notes… We’re out of corn flakes, F.U. It took me three hours to realize that F.U. was Felix Unger!”

  10. It’s amazing that line made it into the movie.

  11. John Cowan says

    This, of course, is the Gelett Burgess of blurb and the Purple Cow, parts I and II.

  12. David Marjanović says

    “Francis Urquhart” is my favorite minced oath.

    …in the entire Finno-Ugric language family.

  13. when Capitaine Haddock calls some low life a “schizophrène” or “Aztec”, today I would think this would suggest too much real contempt for certain persons/peoples to be effective

    I’m suddenly reminded of Walt Kelly’s P. T. Bridgeport: “You ignorant Igorot!’

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