rebus [ˈribəs] n.
1.) An enigmatical representation of a name, word, or phrase by figures, pictures, arrangement of letters, etc., which suggest the syllables of which it is made up. In later use also applied to puzzles in which a punning application of each syllable of a word is given, without pictorial representation (O.E.D. 2nd Ed.).
Etymology: adoption of French rebus, or Latin rēbus, ablative plural of rēs thing. The precise origin of this application of the Latin word is doubtful. It is variously explained as denoting 'by things', from the representation being non verbis sed rebus, and (in Ménage) as taken from satirical pieces composed by clerks in Picardy for the annual carnival, which dealt with current topics, and were therefore entitled de rebus quæ geruntur 'about things which are going on'.
"For whereas a Poesie is a speaking picture, and a picture a speechlesse Poesie, they which lackt the wit to expresse their conceit in speech, did use to depaint it out (as it were) in pictues, which they called Rebus, by a Latine name well fitting their device" (Remaines, Concerning Britaine 2nd Ed., William Camden, 1614).
Ian Rankin fans (my dad is a huge one) might be especially interested in this one. But now it's time to announce the winner of this week's challenge. Surprise, surprise, it's...Lemons Don't Make Lemonade! She wrote:
"It is invidious of the king to reward the Duke of Albertine a bejeweled sword when he refuses to give his other subjects even a few sacks of silver!" Lady Elizabeth's angry tones could be heard from across the room and I hastened to quiet her, for fear that we will both be accused of treachery against the king. "Hush, sister!" Moving towards her, I whispered: "The king is wise - the incipient jealousy of the nobles will breed disunity among them. And you know how paranoid his majesty is. Furthermore, you cannot fault the king for being partial to the duke...not after the duke's panegyric at court last Thursday. As opposed to your husband's megillah, which, to be honest, came across as redundant, fabulously boring, and lasted an entire hour!" Elizabeth frowned, but her lips twitched. "It is all very well for the duke to slake the king's thirst for flattery with a jug of oenomel, but we all know that King Henry's reign is not 'a paragon of virtue and sagacity to barbaric nations across the world.'"Normally, I'd be impressed that you used 6 words instead of the required 5. But this week shari happened to have submitted this doozy:
E, are you mad at me for being a wild gardener? Is it because I choose to create my own fata morgana in the midst of my verdant oasis? Please forgive my intransigence, as I find the lushness and vim of unbridled greenery to be an oenomel to my soul. It seems that my love of chaotic gardening is invidious to those who crave order. Perhaps my panegyric ramblings on "Natural Gardening" will somehow spark an incipient love in you of uncontrolled proliferation? If not, it will still not slake my desire of writing my own megillah bombast for your blog.10 of them! You would have won easily (I hadn't considered the possibility of being written into my own contest-paragraphs before!), shari, except that you used "megillah" as an adjective. Still, that's quite a paragraph: surprisingly readable, given all the inkhornisms! Okay, for next week, let's use (5 of!) fata Morgana, aegis, olla podrida, soupcon, avuncular, telos, and fecundity. Good luck, and thanks for reading!