Monday, 11 March 2013


Frasier Crane, Nile Crane, badinage


Noun & verb. Mid-17th century.
[French, from badiner to joke, from badin fool from Provençal, from badar gape from Proto-Romance]

A noun. Humorous banter or ridicule. M17
B verb intrans. & trans. Banter playfully. E19

When I think of badinage, I think of the inimitable relationship between the brothers Frasier and Niles Crane from the sitcom Frasier. Both are psychiatrists, incorrigibly pompous and pathologically competitive with each other. In fact, their pretentiousness renders badinage (a rather pompous sounding word itself) all the more fitting to describe their often barbed wordplay, peppered as it is with references to wine, fine art, opera and French. Their steady supply of retorts, quips, asides and witticisms provides some of the very best badinage to grace our television screens.

Do please leave any comments below.


  1. This is on my to-do list as well! Pretty classic illustration. Did you notice Kelsey's mullet? Also, what are the "M19" "E17", etc.?

    1. Kelsey Grammer's hair is a good indicator of roughly where in the timeline of Frasier a particular scene or episode is from (the worse it is, the earlier it is).

      Re. what M19, E17 etc means, this is the OED's abbreviation for when a word was first recorded, so M19 = mid-19th century, E17 = early 17th century, etc. You're not the first person to ask me about this, but I've vacillated somewhat in addressing it, as I could either write a small guide on OED abbreviations or just write them longhand in the definition. Any thoughts?

  2. Thanks for sharing the video! It was an entertaining way to start the day.

    1. I'm glad you liked it ... if I'm feeling down a bit of Frasier always picks me up!