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An Englishman In New York: Callipygian - Word Of The Day, Or Even The Year

David Thomasesson extends, in a deliciously provocative way, our knowledge of the English language.

Any ideas? Nothing comes to mind?

Well, here’s a clue. I saw the word in a CNN article
http://edition.cnn.com/ about Kim Kardashian http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/kimberly_kardashian; she of
the Kardashian family , who have made “famous for being famous” into such an art form. Kim and sister Khloe seem only to have love affairs with American Football players; no surprise there, neither have anything between the ears. Lord only knows what their deceased father would think of it all. (Mother now on 2, Bruce Jenner, Olympic Decathlete star in 1976). He was on OJ’s defense team and by all accounts a pretty good
man. Well, if the glove fits…

Perhaps CNN’s use of the word was a mistake, I mean we’re talking CNN after all; a self-styled "The Worldwide Leader in News" 24-7 news channel that was once crass enough to interrupt a breaking news story with…you’ve guessed…another breaking news story! As they say, there’s
nothing staler than yesterdays, or the last-minute’s news.

So in describing Kim Kardashian
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kim_Kardashian.jpg , with her
not inconsiderable assets, the CNN correspondent (or muck-raker, take your pick) chose to use a word that 99.99% of their readers could not possibly, in many many months of Sundays, understand. Unless of course they thought it was a euphemism for her frontal fun bags.

Was it related to her nose, or her smile? None of these. Actually there was a clue in the last paragraph. OK, so her nose is a little large, her lips a little too pursed. Nope, lower down we go, past the afore-mentioned hand warmers, round the corner until we land upon her Ass.

So here’s the definition…Callipygian - having well-shaped buttocks, from the Greek “calli” (beautiful) and “pyge” (buttocks). Here’s the back-story, so to speak.

The Venus Kallipygos or Aphrodite Kallipygos
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_Kallipygos , meaning "Venus (or
Aphrodite) of the beautiful buttocks", is an Ancient Roman marble statue, thought to be a copy of an older Greek original. It depicts a partially draped woman, raising her light peplos (draped, body-length garment) to uncover her hips and buttocks, and looking back and down over her shoulder, perhaps to evaluate them. Or as we would say…”cor blimey,
what a pair”. Butt, there’s more, apparently the first recorded use was in 1880 when Thomas Pynchon wrote in Gravity’s Rainbow : “Those dusky Afro-Scandinavian buttocks, which combine the callipygian rondure observed among the
races of the Dark Continent with the taut and noble musculature of sturdy Olaf, our blond Northern cousin”. http://www.amazon.com/Gravitys-Rainbow-Penguin-Classics-Deluxe/dp/0143039946%3FSubscriptionId%3D0G81C5DAZ03ZR9WH9X82%26tag%3Dzemanta-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D0143039946

My, my, another good word…rondure…meaning gracefully rounded. What delicious words they are indeed. Interestingly when callipygian and rondure are combined in a phrase, there are only 1,380 hits on Google which must be a record low.

And if you ever hear your son use the word, best take a quick look into his homework assignment otherwise you might find that he’s indulging in some gratuitous drooling over T & A pictures masquerading as serious study practices.

So the next time you make a comment about a lady’s Callipygian structure, or even the rondure of her gluteus maxima (plural, note), you can have the quiet satisfaction that a) she won’t know what it means, and
b) if she wants to look it up, she won’t find it in the dictionary because she can’t even spell it. Which as we all know is spelt I..T.


Do visit David's Web site http://www.britoninnewyork.com/


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