Bovine Scatology & Kakistocracy

Writing about

And about

Foyle’s Philavery – A Treasury of Unusual Words

Hooray for Christopher Foyle – a good Essex man from near Maldon – and, of course, something to do with a few big bookshops.

I was reminded of this just now (I confess I had forgotten it from this morning!) because I’m in the process of editing something written by an academic colleague.

The thing that reminded me was the question posed by Evan Davis: should we make a point of using obscure words to prolong their existance or should we concentrate on making ourselves understood using say the 800 most commonly-used words?

We certainly claim to have have a good many more words in English than in other languages – but see the Oxford Dictionaries on this….


A system of government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.

Bovine Scatology

For those of you who love a good euphemism, Bovine Scatology is a term
coined by General Norman Schwarzkopf, first heard by the viewing public
at a press briefing on status of the air and ground campaigns during the
Persain Gulf War. The general referred to speculations by various
military pundits, employed by CNN and other news gathering/reporting
organizations, as “bovine scatology”.

4 Responses to “Bovine Scatology & Kakistocracy”
  1. owen59 says:

    You’ve got to love english just for its words and the mangled use they can then be turned. But I get along okay with a few hundred.

  2. Ellie says:

    Frabjous post!

  3. The Audacity of Hype says:

    A derived etymology which certainly did not originate with Gen. Schwarzkopf! A cheeky classmate of mine was using this term in second-year High School Chemistry in 1976!

    • Ed Samsen says:

      H. Norman Schwartzkopf was not the first person to use the term Bovine Scatology. I will admit to telling an English professor (Dr. Sherman Raskin) at Pace University NYC that I thought that he got his doctorate in Bovine Scatology rather than English because he refused to allow me to double up two English Courses in one summer session. I did this during the summer of 1984 long before “Gulf War 1”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: