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Re: [XTalk] Petard

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  • L. J. Swain
    Petard
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2001
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      Petard<petarde < Lat. peditum (a breaking of wind) from pedo, pedere,
      pepedi, to break wind. I don't know where the bit about the "lance"
      comes from, unless someone erroneously took the etymology from Lat.
      "peto" rather than "pedo".

      Bob Schacht wrote:
      >
      > At 04:41 PM 7/30/01 +0100, Eric Eve wrote:
      > >On 29 Jul 2001, at 12:11, William Arnal wrote:
      > >
      > > > Hoist by my own petard (what's a petard, anyway?)
      > >
      > >In modern French petard means 'firecracker' or 'banger'. In (presumably
      > >late) mediaeval warfare it was a (I should imagine primitive) explosive
      > >device used to blow up castle gates and the like (in siege warfare, I'd
      > >imagine). To be 'hoist on one's on petard' was thus to be blown up by
      > >one's own bomb (probably an occupational hazard laying a barrel of
      > >gunpowder with a dodgy fuse that might go off prematurely). I think I read
      > >somewhere that the word originally came from the French for 'to break
      > >wind', though I can't find this in my French dictionary!
      > >
      > >I'm sure you really wanted to know that!
      > >
      > >Best wishes,
      > >
      > >Eric
      >
      > Eric,
      > The trail leads back to Shakespeare (don't all trails lead back to the
      > bard?), Hamlet III.IV.207,
      > "For tis the sport to have the engineer hoist on his own petar; and 't
      > shall go hard/But I will delve one yard below their mines, and blow them to
      > the moon."
      > referring to a small engine of war used to blast a hole through a door or
      > wall. I suppose the metaphor is akin to blowing someone "up"?
      > This is too bad, in a way, because I had been led to believe at one point
      > that the word was an older-still reference to the lance used by knights
      > when joisting. But I can cite no source for that interpretation.
      >
      > Bob
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
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