TWAIN-L Archives

Mark Twain Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Linda Morris <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 17 Mar 2011 17:00:00 -0700
text/plain (167 lines)
Keep right on avoiding.  I love your postings--always.
On Mar 17, 2011, at 4:44 PM, Sharon McCoy wrote:

> The term seems to have been in use as early as 1835, where it was used in 
> Nathaniel Ames's _An Old Sailor's Yarns_, with the implication that it refers to 
> the galley on a ship.
> "Captain Williams, here is one of that bloody Don  Dego's shot gone right 
> through the galley-door, and through the side of  the big copper, and knocked 
> all the beef and hot water galley-west" (308).
> Perhaps it is a term Twain picked up in his steamboat days?  My favorite use of 
> it is in Chapter 37 of _Huckleberry Finn_, when the boys are tormenting Aunt 
> Sally by "smouching" her spoons, putting them back, and making her think she 
> cannot count or that she is going mad.  And the passage seems to lend credence 
> to it as a nautical term, as Huck talks of getting his "sailing orders" from 
> Aunt Sally:
> "So I smouched one, and they come out nine same as the other time.
> Well, she was in a tearing way — just a trembling all over, she was so mad.
> But she counted and counted, till she got that addled she’d start to countin
> the basket for a spoon, sometimes; and so, three times they come out right,
> and three times they come out wrong. Then she grabbed up the basket and
> slammed it across the house and knocked the cat galley-west; and she said
> cle’r out and let her have some peace, and if we come bothering around her
> again betwixt that and dinner, she’d skin us. So we had the odd spoon; and
> dropped it in her apron pocket whilst she was a giving us our sailing-orders,
> and Jim got it all right, along with her shingle-nail, before noon."
> Cheers,
> Sharon (also happily and busily avoiding work)
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Gregg Camfield <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Thu, March 17, 2011 4:56:00 PM
> Subject: Re: M-W WOTD: "galley-west"
> Yes, in _Tramp Abroad_, specifically in the "Blue-Jay Yarn."  "Of course that 
> knocked the mystery galley-west in a second."  "Askew" and "awry" don't really 
> work in this context, do they?  Nor do they really work in _LOM_, in which Twain 
> has a pilot, Uncle Mumford, deride efforts to "tame" the lower Mississippi: 
> "They have started in here with big confidence, and the best intentions in the 
> world; but they are going to get left.  What does Ecclesiastes vii.  13 say? 
> Says enough to knock THEIR little game galley-west, don't it?"
> (Ecc 7:13 Consider what God has done: 
>   Who can straighten 
>   what he has made crooked? )
> Here, too, the word seems to mean "destroy" or "end" or something to that 
> effect.  Does this cast doubt on Merriam's definition and etymology?
> As for the OED listing 1883 as the first use, _Tramp Abroad_ (1880), knocks that 
> date galley-west, too.  Last time I checked, the OED doesn't even list the use 
> of "brat" as slang for "bastard," either, and Leontes' use of the term in _The 
> Winter's Tale_ and Anne Bradstreet's use of the term in "The Author to Her Book" 
> show that at least some writers used the term that way.  Dictionaries to me are 
> addictive drugs that too often give bad trips.  Or maybe, because they too often 
> trip me up, I want to avenge myself by tripping them up.      
> And that is why I would never want to become a lexicographer, even to illuminate 
> Mark Twain.
> Gregg (busily avoiding work) Camfield
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011 9:36 am
> Subject: Re: M-W WOTD: "galley-west"
> To: [log in to unmask]
>> He used it in A Tramp Abroad and Life on the Mississippi, and in a 
>> letter in 
>> 1875.  OED cites earliest use as 1883.
>> See Ramsay & Emberson, A MARK TWAIN LEXICON (1938, rep 1963).
>> They list 7,802 words, of which 4,342 are apparently new words 
>> invented by 
>> Mark Twain.
>> They checked their entries against OED, Webster, etc. It's a 
>> complicated 
>> subject but you can read their 119pp. introduction to get a good idea 
>> of 
>> their approach and how to treat their results.
>> With so many new Mark Twain works appearing since 1938, it's time for 
>> a 
>> revised edition of this extremely useful but outdated work, and it 
>> seems to 
>> me the perfect sort of project for an online database. Any 
>> lexicographers 
>> lurking out there?
>> Kevin
>> @
>> Mac Donnell Rare Books
>> 9307 Glenlake Drive
>> Austin TX 78730
>> 512-345-4139
>> Member: ABAA, ILAB
>> *************************
>> You may browse our books at
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "David Davis" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 8:02 AM
>> Subject: M-W WOTD: "galley-west"
>>> The Word of the Day for March 17 is:=20
>>> galley-west   \gal-ee-WEST\   adverb
>>> : into destruction or confusion
>>> "American author Mark Twain is on record as one of the first to use
>>> "galley-west" in his writing. Etymologists believe the word is a
>>> corruption of dialectal English "colleywest" or "collyweston." The
>>> earliest appearance of those words, used with the meaning "askew or
>>> awry," dates from the late 16th century. The ultimate source of
>>> "colleywest" and "collyweston" is not known but is suspected to be 
>> from
>>> a personal name. When "galley-west" is used in speech or writing, the
>>> verb "knock" usually precedes it."
>>> [Interesting. I don't know that he made-up many words - Shakespeare 
>> a
>>> far greater coiners of neologisms than our boy. Does anyone recall 
>> where
>>> he used this one? /DDD ]
>>> -----
>>> No virus found in this message.
>>> Checked by AVG -
>>> Version: 10.0.1204 / Virus Database: 1498/3511 - Release Date: 03/16/11
>> -----
>> No virus found in this message.
>> Checked by AVG -
>> Version: 10.0.1204 / Virus Database: 1498/3511 - Release Date: 03/16/11