Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2007 July 16

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July 16[edit]

what does the "H" mean ?[edit]

Here's one for you. What does the "H" stand for /mean in the saying "Jesus H. Christ"?-shredder0288

Oh ye of little faith. Believe that Wikipedia has an article on everything, and it will. Just click on Jesus H. Christ. Happy reading. -- JackofOz 04:59, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
His middle name was Henry. Capuchin 07:15, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
No, his middle name was Harold. Thus the Lord's Prayer - "Our father who art in heaven, Harold be thy name." --LarryMac | Talk 16:30, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I thought Harold was the angel's name, as in Hark, the Harold angels sing. —Angr 16:32, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Haploid. —Tamfang 23:07, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
Very clever, Tamfang.
Got it from Cecil Adams, i think. —Tamfang 01:41, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Grammar usage[edit]

Mr. & Mrs. Smith have a daughter, Mary. Mary marries Tom Hanover. Which of the following is correct?

Mary Hanover's maiden name is Smith.

Mary Hanover's maiden name was Smith.

Thank you,


This would be a great question for the English Language Reference Desk. Both usages are current, but it seems that "was" is used more often. I am not sure which is preferred in edilect (formal written English). The Jade Knight 12:04, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
It is still her maiden name, so 'is' is correct. However, as it's a name she may no longer use, 'was' would also be idiomatic. — Gareth Hughes 12:05, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
One could make a distinction between "My surname was Smith" and "My maiden name is Smith". But I agree with JK and GH that "was" is idiomatically ok for the second example.
If, prior to marriage, Mary had changed her surname legally to e.g. Coburg, then she could quite accurately say "My maiden name was Hanover Smith but now it is Coburg". Sounds odd, admittedly. -- JackofOz 13:01, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
After Mary snuffs it shuffles off this mortal coil, however, I'd say her maiden name was Smith. —Angr 15:18, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
She just began her new life with Tom and we're already planning for her death? For shame... Joe 18:43, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

types of actors in C 17th france[edit]

Hi, I'm looking for a list of the strange synonyms for 'actor' that were used in 17th century Europe - can't remember if they were idioms or epithets, or descriptive terms for the different types of theatre in which the actor subtypes performed. Can anyone help me with this? I'm particularly hopinh for derogatory terms suggestive of overacting, pantomime, general hammishness.

Thanks all, Adambrowne666 12:53, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

See Commedia_dell'arte#The_characters... AnonMoos 15:05, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for that, but they're more characters than types of actor - I'm looking for a list of words like 'histrion', 'mummer', that kinda thing. The kind of words that might be scornfully uttered by someone religiously disposed to a mistrust of theatre. Adambrowne666 00:26, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Believe it or not, "hypocrite" used to be a standard word for 'actor' I believe the word itself derives from the name of an Ancient World actor-- Hypocras. 'Le chariot d'Hypocras' was a French periphrase referring to the acting profession. Rhinoracer 12:40, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

I never knew that, thanks - although this [1] would have it different about the etymology, I know etymologies are often quite iffy - thanks, too, for the word periphrase - didn't knew that one either.

Anyone turned this up independantly?[edit]

I'm trying to find (Again) A General History of the Pyrates, which I KNOW I found on some North Carolinian univeristy's page (It wasn't Chapel Hill/Ibiblio), however all I'm getting are noxious reprints on Google. The original is definitely out of copyright (17something!), but Wikisource's is this useless thing with maybe 8 paragraphs: s:A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates. Thanx, 16:18, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Did you ask User:Sherurcij where he got the text to add to Wikisource? —Angr 16:30, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Have a look at this book. I know nothing about this book, but some of the text from your title (as read in this limited preview) matches. Wareh 16:54, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I found this [2] which may be helpful. DuncanHill 20:02, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't thinking of asking him too quickly given the very defective state I found it it @ WS, however I probably should since he couldn't fabricated that out of thin air. 21:12, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
There are several copies for sale at, though they spell it Pirates. And check for ISBN 1585745588. Corvus cornix 18:29, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

what does he says?[edit]

At this audio [3] at the minute 04:45 there is a word that I don't understand. He says something like "huge tanks of ??". Could a native speaker of English tell me what he says.

    • Thanks!!

And why does this make me think of huge... tracts of land? :-) --Anon, July 16, 22:16 (UTC).