Shane’s Excellent New Words: One bluegill, one crappie, one carp

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Yesterday’s “Edibles & Potables” column at Food & Dining Magazine celebrated the hallowed Czech and Slovak family tradition of yuletide carp. As a postscript, here’s a reprise of “Shane’s Excellent New Words” from 2019, but first, a reminder.

This exercise in “Excellent New Words” was a regular feature of the old NA Confidential. It came about because a certain municipal functionary (not the legendary Legal Bagel, however) once made the pouty comment that I use big words to prove I’m smarter than — well, him.

It’s true, of course. I am smarter than him, even though he makes lots more money, and his own fear of big words is well-founded, albeit not at all unusual in the context of Nawbany’s ongoing political patronage underachievement.

But I digress, so let’s return to “One bluegill, one crappie, one carp.”

Last week I posted a serious article, in which a small joke was inserted.

Culture, demographics and territorial pissings: “Gen X Is Having a (Very Gen X) Moment.”

Thanks to Bluegill (or as they refer to him in France, Bleugill) for drawing my attention to this essay.

The reference should be familiar to anyone who has surveyed the salad offerings and wondered why English-speakers insist on misspelling the color blue.

You’ll be dismayed to hear this, but the phrase “blue cheese” showed up in English a century and a half before the Frenchified “bleu cheese” version. In fact, the phrase “blue cheese” may have appeared in English before fromage bleu made its appearance in French.

NAC’s co-editor emeritus long has been known for his nickname derived from the fish, but a regular reader took it a step further.

In France, the bluegill is often called “crapet arlequin”… for the little black spot by the fish’s gills. I think it’s from where we bastardized the name “crappie”.

So it would appear.

Crappie – Wikipedia

Etymology. The genus name Pomoxis derives from the Greek πώμα (cover, plug, operculum) and οξύς (sharp). The common name (also spelled croppie or crappé), derives from the Canadian French crapet, which refers to many different fishes of the sunfish family.

Fishing isn’t my bag, and I have eaten neither crappie nor bluegill for many years. Carp is a different story. Not only is carp a fish that makes great, peppery soup when pulled from the depths of Lake Balaton, but it also is a very useful verb in New Gahania.

The verb to carp is synonymous with to complain. However, where complaining is usually understandable, carping about something is complaining to the extent that it annoys others and may make people uncomfortable.

At this juncture I’ll let sleeping fishies lie.

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