Birthday Bewolfenbuttlement

Last Sunday, 14th December, came and went without my realising that it marked the fifth birthday of the Hooting Yard website. Belatedly crack open those bottles of aerated lettucewater! (There was, of course, an earlier Hooting Yard site on the interweb, but it was static, in that it contained various stories and pictures and was very, very rarely updated.) We have come a long way, readers, you and I, and I thank you for your support. Here, for the hell of it, is the very first item posted. The Search Engine Lure referred to is buried somewhere in the Archive.

Vigilant readers of the Hooting Yard Search Engine Lure will note within it the splendid word “bewolfenbuttlement”. Like “solipsism”, this is a coinage by Horace Walpole, but sadly one which never caught on. When the future George III was a teenager, his grandfather tried to marry him off to a European princess, much to the dismay of George’s mother. The name of the princess was Sophia Caroline Maria, daughter of the Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Under his mother’s influence, George became fretful and aghast at the proposal, and – as Walpole wrote – he “declares violently against being bewolfenbuttled”. To resurrect the word successfully, perhaps it is necessary to widen it from the sense of being forced into an arranged marriage to being forced into anything one doesn’t want to do. Start using it today!

4 thoughts on “Birthday Bewolfenbuttlement

  1. At risk of sounding like an extra from Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’, can I ask for clarification of ‘buttle’ and ‘buddle’ before I start using the word later today?

    Has the Walpolean neologism somehow got Americanised on its journey to the HYSEL, where its dentals have become voiced?

    (I realise this Comment is well-nigh incomprehensible … but, ‘Hey!’, as nonchalant folk like to say).

  2. R : This is a clear case of a syndrome known as “Mr Key’s Slapdashery”. I have now corrected the text, rendering your comment wholly, rather than well-nigh, incomprehensible. “Buttle” it is.

  3. Damn..!
    I’ve made a poltroon of myself yet again…
    I’ve been slipping the word “bewolfen-bubble-ment” into my sparkling conversational forays at fashionable cocktail parties for the last few days…
    Still people were so bewitched by my explanation of the credit clench that I probably got away with it…


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