The Wordery:

Thespian..

Thespis One of my favourite words which I try to insert into conversations whenever possible, thespian should be uttered slightly loudly and with a bold emphasis. I love it because, a) most people don't know what it means and, b) because it sounds like another word which people have heard of, and usually causes them to double-take and look at you funny.

If like me, you're a fan of the hilarious BlackAdder series and the like, then such a term is grist-for-the-mill for subtle innuendos, so typical of English humour.

So thespian is just another term for an 'actor' - but why use the mundane term actor, when you can shout thespian! from the proscenium, titillating your audience thus.

The name comes from some Greek bloke called Thespis, who is quite well-known...well, to students of Ancient Greece with an interest in acting, and funny words, that is. According to Aristotle, Thespis of Icaria (present-day Dionysos, Greece) was the first person ever to appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play (instead of speaking as themself). Quite an accolade then, really. Before Thespis there was just the chorus and he made it so that an actor could stand apart from the chorus. Maybe he had B.O. or severe halitosis or pubic lice or something.

So feel free to use this fine word yourself and see if you can't get the same reaction I did..

 

AndyM


Know any humerous thespians? Why not submit them for inclusion..

The Wordery: Musings and anecdotes from a Word Nerd ..

Malapropism
Mondegreen
Spoonerism
Schadenfreude
42
Merkin
Thespian


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