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From: Lee Daniel Quinn <>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 20:41:38 -0500

Remembering our previous conversations, I
thought you mike like a "Preview of Coming
Attractions" for my daily e-column "Funny
you should say that..."


Here's a noun that means an unpleasantly loud and
even violent woman: TERMAGANT (pronounce it

It can indicate either brawling or scolding, or both –
but either way, it's no compliment.

Neither was its precursor.

In the Middle Ages, when morality plays were all the
thing in the Christian church, their cast of symbolic,
recurring characters would often include an overbearing
woman wearing a long robe: She was known as
Termagaunt, or Tervagaunt, and was supposedly a
mythical deity worshipped by the followers of Islam.

Actually, that medieval female symbol may have
developed from an even earlier male character who
wore long eastern-style robes, which to the western eye
looked like women's "skirts."

There was also an Italian personality known as
_termigisto_, "boaster," whose name developed from
_trismegistus_, "thrice great"; this character boasted so
loudly that he was called "the child of the earthquake
and the thunder."

It's probably not too much of a stretch to say that a
termagant is a woman who yells so loudly she couldn't
hear constructive criticism if she wanted to – which, of
course, she doesn't.

Lee Daniel Quinn <>
Have you ever wondered why just one letter makes all the
difference between here and there?
"Some men smoke but Foo men chew."
I keep tripping over rainbows!

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