[Milton-L] This made me laugh

Nancy Charlton nbcharlton at comcast.net
Thu Nov 3 16:46:36 EDT 2011


On Hallowe'en (a holiday I ignore as much as possible) the OED 
newsletter came in, showing the word of the day to be 
"pumpkinification."  I thought this was likely one of the new 
words they've been featuring since their supplement came out, and 
I skipped it.  Just now I did open it, and found that it wasn't a 
new word at all.

It has a respectable Greek origin,/???????????????/, 
(apokolokuvtosis) being turned into a pumpkin.  The reference is 
not to Cinderella's coach, however, but to the elevation of 
emperor Claudius to the status of a divinity, "hence, 
/allusively/, extravagant or absurdly uncritical glorification".

But what cracked me up was this example of usage:
1943 /Classical Q./ *37* 104 As well might Milton have called 
/Paradise Lost/ 'The Pumpkinification of Satan'.

I had a fleeting vision of Satan as a huge jack o'lantern, 
shrieking "Oh hell, what do mine eyes with grief behold!"  Or he 
might think he had at last received his just due; who he then 
call himself the Great Pumpkin?

Nancy Charlton


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