Friday, 28 February 2014

Catastrophe - A Real Bummer

A young Japanese girl cries after dropping her ice-cream
This photo breaks my heart every time I look at it.
(photo by Big Ben in Japan)

CATASTROPHE

Noun. Mid-16th century.
[Latin catastropha from Greek katastrophe overturning, sudden turn, from katastrephein, formed as CATA- + strephein turn.]

1 The dénouement of a play, especially a tragedy;
the final resolution of a novel etc. M16

2(a) A disastrous conclusion; overthrow, ruin, calamitous fate. L16

2(b) obsolete. The buttocks. jocular. rare (Shakespeare). Only in L16

3(a) A revolutionary event. L17

3(b) GEOLOGY. (An event causing) a sudden upheaval or discontinuity in the stratigraphic record. M19

4 A sudden or widespread or noteworthy disaster.; an extreme misfortune. M18

Also:
catastrophic adj. of or pertaining to a catastrophe; disastrous, dreadful. M19
catastrophical adj. = CATASTROPHIC E19
catastrophically adv. L19

Oh how very Greek. How very Greek indeed! In fact, I don't think Lexicolatry has covered a Greeker word than catastrophe; it just exudes an indefinable Greekness from every tragic phoneme and dramatic syllable. And d'you know what? I love it as a word. Considering how steeped in catastrophic tragedy Grecian culture is, it's unsurprising that catastrophe has its roots in drama, as the catastrophe was the sudden denouement of a play, particularly when it was a shocking reversal of what the audience expected (think Tom Hanks getting shot by Jude Law right at the end of Road to Perdition, just when it seemed everything was going tickety-boo).

One of catastrophe's greatest qualities as a word, however, is its evolution away from its thespian roots. Yes, of course, catastrophe can mean a genuine, ground-splitting, world-ending disaster, but it can also be used just as comfortably to describe, say, your oven going on the blink half an hour before your boss and his wife arrive for dinner. And what about a dropped ice-cream? Oh my word! Is there anything more catastrophically tragic than a dropped ice-cream? For what was a only a fleeting moment, a child held a single scoop of pure happiness in her hand. It was everything - the excitement, the anticipation, the wonder of the cool, delicious bliss to come. And then? Splat. In an instant, the child's entire world is unceremoniously spattered across the unyielding pavement. Oh one almost weeps just thinking about it.

And yes, finally, in Shakespearean English, a catastrophe was a pair of buttocks, as immortalised in the line:

"Away you scullion! You rampallion! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe!"
Henry IV Part II 

Crude Shakespearean language aside (and I do apologise for such), I say without hesitation that I'm in favour of reinstating this gluteus catastrophe, either as an adjective - "Maaan! That is one catastrophic set of glutes you got there!" - or as a noun - "I see ya baby! Shaking that catastrophe!" Of course, my feeble favours are nothing without the will of the masses, so it's up to all of us: use catastrophe today to refer to your own bottom, and together we will return this wonderful word to its rightful place.

Seriously, is there anything more catastrophic than a dropped ice-cream?

Has anyone ever admired your catastrophe?

Do please complete this post's denouement by leaving a comment in the box below.

52 comments:

  1. Awww! That pictures tugs at the heartstrings! Poor wee poppet.

    I always thought catastrophe as buttocks came from cat - 'ass' - trophe!
    Sorry Willie old boy! I should've known you had something to do with it.

    I won't be referring to my butt as a catastrophe - I don't like to state the obvious! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe it does, Jingles - I've now idea how Shakespeare came to apply 'catastrophe' to buttocks.

      And your last line made me chuckle ... even if it means you're not joining in with my catastrophic revolution.

      Delete
  2. http://youtu.be/MPgZHclQqZM

    It's an old song, but the video even alludes to the Shakespearean sense of the word. Good luck! (Disclaimer: I hate this guy and this kind of music)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaargh! My ears! They're bleeding!

      Evi! That music really is an example of a catastrophe ...

      Delete
    2. I hope you got to the chorus. My intention was for it to get stuck in your head. I love to give people annoying earworms. Catastropheeeee mooooooo

      Delete
  3. Tom Hanks get shot by.............?!

    Nooooooooooo! Not even a spoiler alert? That's another Friday evening you've ruined for me ed. Forget tickling, your catastrophe needs a good, solid kick.

    Looks like it's The Notebook, again. (THAT trumps a spilt ice cream.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This post went out on the very Friday you were planning to watch Road to Perdition? Incredible.

      Delete
  4. What a perfect illustration, Eddie. Excellent find on that one...

    And I'm off to find myself an ice cream cone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it? Oh Katie, I can hardly look at it. Really, I can't - it puts a lump in my throat every time.

      Delete
  5. That's a brilliant photo. I love how the Mum's attempting to look empathetic but also trying not to laugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a lot of factors that make this photo so memorable - the Mum's expression is definitely one of them.

      Delete
  6. I'm happy to see my photo used for something like this; it validates my decision to use Creative Commons licensing.
    I love your site! I'm a linguist by training and a translator by trade, so word geekery like this always brings a smile to my face. I'll have to visit more often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please do, Ben - and thank you for the use of such a great photo; it was certainly well-received.

      Delete
  7. This is my first time visit to your blog and I am very interested in the articles that you serve. Provide enough knowledge for me. Thank you for sharing useful and don't forget, keep sharing useful info: logistics services in mumbai

    ReplyDelete
  8. clients to it, and best of all by getting them through your own network. There are undoubtedly other ways of generating real estate leads as well, but these are the most common methods - all of which have proven to work to a certain degree.Going Here

    ReplyDelete
  9. If your property is like everyone else's, the best thing you can do is offer the most competitive price. Homes for Sale

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello there! Good post! Please inform us when I will see a follow up! drukarki 3d

    ReplyDelete
  11. Best Realtors in Surrey to list your home or condo. A Chinese speaking Realtor that can converse in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. A Top 1% PREC Team Member for over 10 years in a row Surrey Real estate

    ReplyDelete
  12. Another advantage that comes packed with new construction homes is greater energy efficiency 55 and over communites

    ReplyDelete
  13. As compared to older homes, a home buyer can expect up to 17% more compliant to these standards than homes which were constructed several years ago localrealtyservice.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is my first time visit to your blog and I am very interested in the articles that you serve. Provide enough knowledge for me. Thank you for sharing useful and don't forget, keep sharing useful info: high pressure needle valve

    ReplyDelete
  15. Newport Beach is extremely outstanding for its most noteworthy esteemed real estate properties in the U.S., being an ideal place for real estate business . It's area and closeness to the water, and the shoreline front view increase it's real estate esteem significantly. Real estate Marbella

    ReplyDelete
  16. Without fail, your writing style is top professional; even your website also looks amazing thank you for posting. villa for sale marbella golden mile

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am definitely enjoying your website. You definitely have some great insight and great stories. Whistler Grand Condo

    ReplyDelete
  18. Real estate is usually bought or sold by a licensed real estate agent,www.thegreatestatesale.com or directly by the owner.

    ReplyDelete
  19. So things are generally advantageous and doubtlessly the vast majority of domain operators have at long last comprehended what this business is extremely about. It takes a considerable measure of persistence and capacity to keep up your property's estimation among top ones on land advertise. Villa for sale Reserva Alcuzcuz

    ReplyDelete
  20. With such a significant number of assets online how does an investor successfully utilize them without getting impeded or winding up with incomplete or terrible information? the opus

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is very interesting content! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your points and have come to the conclusion that you are right about many of them. You are great.villa for sale in Nagueles

    ReplyDelete
  22. Acknowledges for penmanship such a worthy column, I stumbled beside your blog besides predict a handful advise. I want your tone of manuscript... Midtown Suites Guocoland

    ReplyDelete
  23. I understand this column. I realize You put a many of struggle to found this story. I admire your process. Orchard Road City Centre

    ReplyDelete
  24. I really impressed after read this because of some quality work and informative thoughts . I just wanna say thanks for the writer and wish you all the best for coming!. Collective Sale Real Estate

    ReplyDelete
  25. I personally use them exclusively high-quality elements : you will notice these folks during: Balmoral Plaza Newton MRT Station

    ReplyDelete
  26. It is somewhat fantastic, and yet check out the advice at this treat. Leasehold Properties

    ReplyDelete
  27. Listed here you'll learn it is important, them offers the link in an helpful webpage: West Coast Park Singapore

    ReplyDelete
  28. Can nicely write on similar topics! Welcome to here you'll find out how it should look. Chip Bee Gardens Holland Village

    ReplyDelete
  29. You may want to move and relocate to other place. And you haven't decided which City-Data you will select. In buying your next home you must consider some factors before signing any paper works.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is highly informatics, crisp and clear. I think that everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things. Sell home in Calgary, AB

    ReplyDelete
  31. Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this interesting and knowledgeable article.
    Carolineis11

    ReplyDelete
  32. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. Condo Size for family

    ReplyDelete
  33. Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking. Phoenix Heights Bukit Panjang

    ReplyDelete
  34. They would prefer to sell their home and purchase a similar home at a much lower cost, and assume the misfortune with the goal that they can improve their income circumstance by having a lower contract installment every month. 55+ communities in Clermont, FL

    ReplyDelete
  35. First question to ask yourself is who have your clients been working with or exploring their options of real estate investing with over the past 3-4 months.Superior Home Inspections Fayetteville NC

    ReplyDelete
  36. I love the humor your post has offered. I enjoyed this site a lot. Keep posting article like this. It is fun. Nice photography too! croyde holiday homes

    ReplyDelete
  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too. Home in spection company in Fayetteville NC

    ReplyDelete
  39. When it comes to Estate Agents Bolton among the leading Bolton Estate Agents for over a decade is Manhattan Estates Agents located in the Bolton UK area. If you are in need of professional Estate Agents Bolton, look no further. Complete estate services and property management solutions in Bolton. Estate Agents Bolton UK

    ReplyDelete
  40. Succeed! It could be one of the most useful blogs we have ever come across on the subject. Excellent info! I’m also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort very well. Thanks for the huge help. mirador de kossler

    ReplyDelete
  41. There is some exciting news for foreign investors due to recent geo-political developments and the emergence of several financial factors. This coalescence of events, has at its core, the major drop in the price of US real estate, combined with the exodus of capital from Russia and China. Among foreign investors this has suddenly and significantly produced a demand for real estate in California. Real estates

    ReplyDelete
  42. A home stager can give an impartial assessment of the home that the homeowner can not give since he can get incomplete thus well-known to his own home.
    oak run in ocala fl

    ReplyDelete