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Re: Suggestive nonsense (was: K-Rad)

From:J Matthew Pearson <pearson@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 26, 2001, 4:38
Dan Jones wrote:

> J Matthew Pearson wrote: > > > No. As I mentioned in another email, "brillig" comes from "broil". > Humpty > > Dumpty explains quite clearly that "brillig" means four o'clock in the > > afternoon--the time when you begin *broiling* things for dinner. > > That's odd. Especially as we don't use "broil" over here. I think broil > means to fry or to roast, but I'm not sure. To most people here "broil" > would sound like a mix of "boil" and "fry". Very few people know what > "broil" actually means here in Britain. I'm one of those who don't.
Very odd indeed. The OED lists forms of "broil" going back to Chaucer's time. Of uncertain origin, although almost certainly from French (cf. Old French "bruillir" = "to burn"). It's an entirely commonplace word over here, and I had no idea it wasn't used in other dialects. If what you say is true, perhaps this word was lost in England in post-Victorian times, but survived in North America. Matt.