Lost ejaculation

Somewhere on this blog is a scan from a Biggles book, where the hero is surrounded by “a circle of ejaculating natives” — but actually we have lost rather a useful word. What is now the proper term for sudden emotional speech, without much grammar or sense written down, like the little cries of outrage and delight you can overhear when someone in the room is wandering through youtube?

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4 Responses to Lost ejaculation

  1. rupert says:

    That I don’t know, but the matter is somehow bound to the famous sentence about a dog running up to meet its owner, emitting excited whelps at each bound.

  2. Bill Thompson says:

    The word, surely, is still ‘ejaculation’ – we must defy any listener or reader to snicker and betray their limited vocabulary. ‘We need to defend the language against the dumbing down of the tabloid sensibility’ he ejaculated…

  3. ‘Ejaculation’ isn’t the only word to have been so devalued. There’s the case of ‘gay’, which now causes texts published before about 1968 to be greeted with sniggers. In the US, there’s also the case of ‘booty’, which generates sniggers in quantity as I found out when teaching an American government class — I was surprised to have the etymology of ‘filibuster’ greeted with suppressed laughter.

  4. Andrew Norman says:

    _He heard footsteps running to and fro in the rooms, and up and down
    stairs behind him. His landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped in
    dressing gown and shawl; her husband followed ejaculating._

    (H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds)

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