Welcome back, everyone! We hope your November has started off on the right foot. For those of you who celebrated Halloween with costumes and festivities, we’ve decided to continue in the same imaginative vein with this week’s Wacky Word Wednesday.
For your reading pleasure, today’s wacky word is: batrachomyomachy.
(Don’t freak out at the amount of syllables—this is a good one.)
The definition from TermWiki.com:
A fight over nothing; a storm in a teacup.
We know we’re betting against fleeting attention spans here with this monster of a word, but the etymology is pretty interesting if you choose to stick around. Batrachos comes from the Greek word for “frog,” whereas myo in Greek originates from the Latin word mus, which means “mouse.” And then there’s “machia,” the Greek word for power or fighting. Hence, the not-so-epic epic poem from which this word derives, Batrachomyomachy, is translated into English as “The Battle of Frogs and Mice”. This poem is actually an ancient satirical take on how the Trojan War began from a molehill that turned into a ten-year-long mountain. (But hey, we kinda get it. We’d be spittin’ mad too if someone kidnapped our world-renowned babe-o-rama!)
A quick search online provides a variety of renditions for this poem, but they all have the same characters: lead protagonists Puff Jaw, the King of the Frogs, and Crumb Snatcher, the haughty Mouse Prince (seriously, we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried).
The basic storyline, with a bit of a modern twist, goes something like this:
Puff Jaw: Hey, you! What’re you doing, walkin’ around my lake?
Crumb Snatcher: Your lake, eh? Don’t you know who my parents are? I could have you thrown in jail for talking to me like that, scalawag!
Puff Jaw: Ah, Crumb Snatcher! I had no idea. C’mon back to my ‘hood and let me buy you a drink.
Crumb Snatcher: Accompany you to your neighborhood? Preposterous!
Puff Jaw: C’mon! We’ve got the best entertainment ever, if y’know what I mean… (wink-wink, nudge-nudge)
Crumb Snatcher: (hesitant) How will we get there?
Puff Jaw: Hop in my speedboat. It’s just straight across the lake.
Off Puff Jaw and Crumb Snatcher go, until—gasp—they come across a huge snake in the water. Frightened, Puff Jaw guns the boat, eager to get away from the horrendous creature. Because of the sudden acceleration, Crumb Snatcher loses his balance and falls into the lake. With his final breath, he calls out, “Puff Jaw! You’ll be sorry for this!” and then drowns.
Lick Platter, one of Crumb Snatcher’s verminous compatriots, was walking around the lake when he saw the commotion and heard Crumb Snatcher’s last words. He scurried off to tell Crumb Snatcher’s father, Bread Nibbler, about the death of his son. Hungry for vengeance, Bread Nibbler gathered his people, and soon the legendary battle between frogs and mice began. (Insert random, gory shots from Braveheart.)
So folks, what we’ve learned is:
Don’t get into boats with strangers.
Anthropomorphism is fun.
And when you meet a beautiful woman named Helen, and she’s taken from your side, don’t engage in senseless batrachomyomachy. Just be the bigger person and walk away.
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