Words from foreign languages in use in English / Nolo episcopari

This is the place to post questions and discussions on usage and style. The members of the Wordwizard Clubhouse will also often be able to help you to formulate that difficult letter.
Post Reply

Words from foreign languages in use in English / Nolo episcopari

Post by tony h » Sat May 27, 2006 8:22 pm

When leafing through a dictionary (much easier to leaf through a paper dictionary than an electronic one in my view) I came across a section entitled Words from foreign languages in use in English. Some I knoew and some I didn't but at what time in English history did the phrase nolo episcopari (I don't want to be a bishop) ever get slipped into "common use in English".

PS Volo episcopari also appears (I do want to be a bishop) but apparantly you are only allowed to volo after two nolos.
Post actions:
Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Words from foreign languages in use in English / Nolo episco

Post by Bobinwales » Sat May 27, 2006 10:45 pm

What dictionary Tony? This I have got to see!
Post actions:
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Words from foreign languages in use in English / Nolo episco

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat May 27, 2006 10:53 pm

I suspect that Tony has his hands on a rare copy of A Dictionary of Quaker Commonplaces and Pithy Aphorisms, 1873 ed. (revised, with non-denominational supplement).

Otherwise, the 1999 edition of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable contains the following entry under the headword phrase Nolo episcopari:

(Latin, "I am unwilling to be a bishop".) The formal reply formerly returned to the royal offer of bishopric. Edward Chamberlayne says (Present State of England (1669)) that the person about to be elected bishop modestly refused the office twice, but if he did so a third time his refusal was accepted.
The landlord agreed with this view, and after taking the sense of the company, and duly rehearsing a small ceremony known in high ecclesiastical life as nolo episcopari, he consented to take on himself the chill dignity of going to Kench's.
GEORGE ELIOT: Silas Marner, Pt 1, ch vii (1861)
If George Bush Jr. had only displayed a similar modesty in 2000 by uttering "Nolo praefectari" three times, think what we might have avoided subsequently.
Post actions:
Signature: -- Looking up a word? Try OneLook's metadictionary (--> definitions) and reverse dictionary (--> terms based on your definitions)8-- Contribute favourite diary entries, quotations and more here8 -- Find new postings easily with Active Topics8-- Want to research a word? Get essential tips from experienced researcher Ken Greenwald

Words from foreign languages in use in English / Nolo episco

Post by tony h » Mon May 29, 2006 8:45 am

Chambers's Twentith Century Dictionary 1948

and another hackneyed phrase:

parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus - the mountains are in travail, an absurd mouse will be the outcome
Post actions:
Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Words from foreign languages in use in English / Nolo episco

Post by Shelley » Mon May 29, 2006 12:22 pm

How to Talk Minnesotan, by Howard Mohr, states that one should never accept food until the third offer is made:
We never accept until the third offer and then reluctantly. On the other hand, if a Minnesotan does not make an offer three times, it is not serious.
"Want a cup of coffee before you go?"
"No, I wouldn't want to put you out. I'll get by."
"You sure? Just made a fresh pot."
"You didn't have to go and do that."
"How about it, one cup?"
"Well, if it's going to hurt your feelings, but don't fill it full."
-- How to Talk Minnesotan: A Visitor's Guide, by Howard Mohr, creator of Minnesota Language Systems.
In the section titled "Dessert Negotiation", Mohr writes:
That's the way we do it: It's okay to want something, we just don't believe in showing it.
I'm convinced this verbal dance has its origins in "nolo episcopari"! Thanks for bringing this up, tony h!
Post actions:

Re: Words from foreign languages in use in English / Nolo episcopari

Post by tony h » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:31 am

I have now met a Minnesotan, nearly failed at the second attempt. Then I remembered your advice @Shelley
Post actions:
Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: Words from foreign languages in use in English / Nolo episco

Post by tony h » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:36 am

Erik_Kowal wrote:
Sat May 27, 2006 10:53 pm
If George Bush Jr. had only displayed a similar modesty in 2000 by uttering "Nolo praefectari" three times, think what we might have avoided subsequently.
Erik: do you want to add another president? :)
Post actions:
Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: Words from foreign languages in use in English / Nolo episcopari

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Jun 03, 2018 3:27 pm

Yes. Both of Bush 43's successors (and also the people they defeated). :cry:
Post actions:

End of topic.
Post Reply