Sunday, January 6, 2013

Word of the evening: hobbledehoy

“I have no time for training young hobbledehoys”: Mr. Carson, in tonight’s episode of Downton Abbey.

The Oxford English Dictionary explains: “A youth at the age between boyhood and manhood, a stripling; esp. a clumsy or awkward youth.” The OED traces hobbledehoy to 1540 and calls it “a colloquial word of unsettled form and uncertain origin.” Here’s a wonderful citation from the Pall Mall Gazette (1891):

There is nowadays an immense public of hobbledehoys — of all ages — and there are even men of culture and critical capacity who take a perverse pleasure in affecting hobbledehoyhood.
Still the case, I’d say.

Why am I watching Downton Abbey? It’s about as deep as a paper plate. But there’s some fine acting.

comments: 2

Barnaby Capel-Dunn said...

I absolutely agree about Downton Abbey, Michael. If ever there were an example of a series saved by fine acting, then this is it.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, I’m watching again tonight.