Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

camstairy coccygodynians August 27, 2012

I think my favorite line from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon might be in Drums of Autumn when Roger observes,

“Coccygodynians are camstairy by nature”

An English teacher, by nature, is thoroughly entertained by word play, and delighted with novel phraseology.  Gabaldon frequently provides such fun, and that quote is an example.  Roger and Bree are playing The Minister’s Cat, a word game where they work through the alphabet, labelling the poor cat with adjectives of increasing complexity.  They called this round a draw.

For your edification: coccygodynia is a pain in the region of the coccyx (tail bone), so Bree’s doctor mother identified the hospital administrators as coccygodynians,  i.e.  “pains in the butt.”  Camstairy is a little more layered.  It’s a Scot’s term that Roger claims means ‘quarrelsome,’ but assorted on-line dictionaries offer definitions of ‘unmanageable,’ ‘unruly,’ and ‘obstinate,’ which add some colourful possibilities!

I trust that your day will be free from camstairy coccygodynians! 😉


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