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A Slate article about debunking a UFO video:


In the course of determining that the UFOs are insects close to the camera rather than big ultrafast objects far away, which can be shown using two synced cameras and checking parallax, he says this: 

If these are truly distant objects capable of mind-altering feats indicative of fiercesome engineering, then both cameras will show the same thing: Compare the object to, say, a cloud or building behind it, and it’ll look the same in both cameras.

What I want to know is what that "fiercesome" is called.  I know the word well.  I love the website where examples are displayed.  i got one accepted and was praised for the catch by the site runners:  "pain-staking."  I even bragged about it here.  But I have been unable to retrieve the word.  


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)


(You fear some, you frighten some.)
Nov. 29th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
Oh, wait, you want to remember a word like "mondegreen." Maybe "mondegreen" itself. Sorry. "And to the Republic for Richard Stans." "Lady Mondegreen." "Boston Charley." That sort of thing?

Edited at 2012-11-29 03:04 am (UTC)
Nov. 29th, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
Allen Grossman (I may have commented before) got a paper on the "fantasy echo" in a course he was teaching on Yeats and the decadent poets of the 90's (AE, and others). He thought it was great, but asked the student where he got this terrific idea. The student said: "You lectured on it. On the fantasy echo poets." I like this because "fantasy echo" is a fantasy echo.

Edited at 2012-11-29 03:06 am (UTC)
Nov. 29th, 2012 12:10 pm (UTC)
Nice. And scary for the aging wisdom-dispenser.
Nov. 29th, 2012 04:38 pm (UTC)
OK, I'm stumped. I can't come up with what "Boston charlie" and "fantasy echo" are mondegreens for. Please help!
Nov. 29th, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
"Fantasy echo" must be fin de siecle, but Boston Charley has me beat, too.
Nov. 29th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
Form Walt Kelly's Pogo. See link just below.

Edited at 2012-11-29 08:07 pm (UTC)
Nov. 29th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
Love the old traditional carols!
Nov. 29th, 2012 04:21 am (UTC)
You want "eggcorns," I think.
Nov. 29th, 2012 04:44 am (UTC)
Yupyup, I believe "eggcorn" is what he is after. There's a fantastic online database here.
Nov. 29th, 2012 08:58 am (UTC)
Mm, it's kind of quiet and rarely added-to, but full of gems. And here is our host's original post re pain-staking.
Nov. 29th, 2012 12:07 pm (UTC)
That's the one my contribution went to. It was hoppin' there for a while. and identified a truyly interesting language feature -- until people started writing so much so fast, in comments, facebook posts, emails, it wasn't known how many bizarre mishearings and wrong ideas were buried in their speech.
Nov. 29th, 2012 12:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you, yes, that's it. I thought it had something to with nuts, or fruits, or something vaguely oval -- the connotations, not the usage. That's a relief!
Nov. 29th, 2012 05:25 am (UTC)
A googlebook search reveals multiple fiercesomes describing dinosaurs, sport teams and Asian gods, all after 1990 or so with one exception. This is a poem by James Urquhart published in Dundee in 1883. He is listed under "Scottish lawyer poets" and otherwise unknown. This may be why:

... The sun of joy hath set
And night is coming on; the horizon
Is darkening up with storm-clouds thick and black,
Darkening the sky, and warning that ere long
The angry storm will rage with fiercesome fury!

Maybe he was a good lawyer.

Nov. 29th, 2012 12:08 pm (UTC)
Well for heaven's sake. Unknown to me. So our astronomer is far from singular. This is both delightful and instructive.
Rodger Cunningham
Nov. 29th, 2012 01:10 pm (UTC)
Is it a Scotticism to pronounce horizon "horrizone," as Urquhart apparently did? I seem to remember it growing up in WV.
Nov. 30th, 2012 05:53 am (UTC)
I see he was 19 when that was published, so I'll cut him some slack. I've committed worse.
Nov. 29th, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's a portmanteau word. Fierce-some; a notch down from 'plenty fierce'
Nov. 30th, 2012 11:44 am (UTC)
Ian M Banks would have called it a feersum endjinn, which looks better, in print, to me
Dec. 1st, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
Happy Burthen Day, John!
Dec. 3rd, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
I was in a greengrocer's some time back and was amused by a hand-written sign on the wall infoming customers that the premises were under 'survey lance'! Sounds like a futuristic weapon, so probably an effective deterrent to the pilfering of fruit and veg.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )