Odd Words: Bastinado

BastinadoThere were problems with page 23 of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition. There were some cool words (which I’ll discuss), but I didn’t have enough resources to do a full definition. So we are stuck with: bastinado.

Beating Past Bastinado

The first word I wanted to use was “battologize.” It is “to repeat words or phrases excessively in speech or writing.” I suffer from this. It’s not just that; I also suffer from this. In fact, it gets so bad, that I sometimes suffer from this. But really: it’s easy to fall into that kind of thing. That’s why it’s important to at least read a piece of writing before publishing.

The second word I selected was “bavardage.” It means “foolish or nonsensical talk.” You would have thought that I would have known that word. It’s like the first word I remember learning: facetious. By the time I was four, the most common sentence my mother said to me was, “Don’t be facetious.” One day I asked her what it meant. Here’s the thing: I could tell it wasn’t good. But whenever she said it, I was feeling pretty damned good myself. Not much has changed over the last five decades.

I suppose I could complain about all the bathy- words on this page. But you know how I feel about that. So let’s move on to today’s word: bastinado.

Bas·ti·na·do  noun  \bas-tə-‘nā-dō\

1. a blow or a beating with a stick, especially as applied to the soles of the feet as a method of punishment.

Date: very late 16th century.

Origin: from the Spanish word bastón, which is a stick.

Example: Inflicting the bastinado is not different from (the capital punishment for) serious crimes; if by good fortune (the victims) do not die, they cannot function (again) as men.Anthony François Paulus Hulsewé

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

6 thoughts on “Odd Words: Bastinado

  1. “Beatings in different zones of the body affect different parts of the soul. To be beaten for a long time upon the soles of the feet, for example, affects laughter. Those who are so beaten never laugh again.”
    – Salman Rushdie, The Moor’s Last Sigh

    I realize I’m a couple days late, but it took me a while to remember where I read that.

    • That’s a great quote. But I have inside info that indicates that it ain’t true. But that’s Top Secret information. I may be putting my life at risk just mentioning it.

    • Looks like it. Note that bastinado is not necessarily involuntary. I’m not into pain myself, but different strokes!

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