Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Piddle, Twiddle and Fribble


Our trivia King Matt Ottinger has once again provided us with some more fascinating information. As Dickinson and Adams build up to a real stick fight they trade barbs at one another:
Dickinson: This Boston radical-this a-gi-ta-tor-this demagogue-this madman
Adams: Are you calling me a madman, you--you--you--fribble!!

Here's Matt's information about fribble.

You might have already looked the word up in the dictionary and found it
to mean 'a frivolous or trifling person'. Turns out that's a modern,
watered-down version. The truth (as it always seems with this show) is
infinitely more interesting.

"Fribble" was a character in a popular David Garrick farce called "Miss
in Her Teens", written in 1747 and therefore presumably known to the
cultured and educated men of Congress. Garrick himself played the
character, an effeminate fop. The insult is, if anything, an attack on
Dickinson's very manhood.

And yes, Adams used the word in his own writings.
http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/cfm/doc.cfm?id=D5

Bill S. has also provided us with interesting information with illustrations! on defending yourself in a sick fight, common in Congress at the time.
http://ejmas.com/jnc/jncart_barton-wright_0200.htm

1 comment:

Bev Brandon said...

dibble and dabble in the word fribble....i love words....thank you so much for leaving me my first post ever I think from anyone not family....i had 150 people look @ my blog and no comments so i was getting paranoid that i was probably doing it like a 100-year-old....at least we are doing it & yours is super!....i saw your pic and called the other country of Thailand to ask the girls how do I post a pic??? Just got off phone w/ Brooke--as you know Katie & Broooke start school tomorrow after 2 1/2 week spring break...sorry this is so long...i will figure out how to blog or post better once i get hang of it...i think you are an awesome lady!!!