02 March 2013

Word: Macaronic

Time for another nice word. Today I have chosen ...

Macaronic (noun and adjective)

A burlesque verse form in which vernacular words are used in a Latin context, with Latin constructions etc. It can also be used where the verse is based on Greek instead of Latin; and thus loosely to any form of verse in which two or more languages are mingled together.

Hence it has also come to be descriptive of a jumble or medley.

According to the OED the word seems to have been invented by Teofilo Folengo ('Merlinus Cocaius') whose 'macaronic' poem (Liber Macaronices) was published in 1517. In the second edition of 1521 he explains that the 'macaronic art' is so called from macaroni, which is quoddam pulmentum farina, caseo, botiro compaginatum, grossum, rude, et rusticanum (literally a crude, rustic mixture of flour, butter and cheese) — so probably quite tasty.

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