Tuesday, April 23, 2013


"So all my best is dressing old words new
"Spending again what is already spent ..."
                                                           (Wm. Shakespeare, Sonnet 76)   

Words—gibbered or written—are an attorney’s stock in trade.  And there are some fine sounding legal phrases which can be trotted out.  Duos exempoator: Quicquid est contra normam recti est injuria. (Whatever is against the rule of right is a wrong.); Res est misera ubi jus est vagum et incertum. (It is a wretched state of things when law is vague and mutable.)  But as to attorneys themselves seldom is heard an encouraging word.  You’re more likely to hear argy-bargy (heated argument) and bumfs (dull, official notices or memoranda); or adjectives such as: sesquipedalian (embracement of polysyllabia); or erinaceous (resembling a hedgehog: Latin derivation, English usage since the 18th century) or inaniloquent (inanely loquacious) or incompt (unkempt, unpolished).  None of which is to say that attorneys might not be adept at eutrapely (pleasantness in conversation: some claim this is one of Aristotle’s seven moral virtues) or skilled at ensorcelling others (viz., bewitching, enchanting or captivating others: from Middle French ensorceler: see sorcery)—particularly jurors whom they might be fleeching (coaxing or wheedling especially by flattery) or sometimes judges before whom they might even stoop to uttering a flagitation (urgent importunity).  But enough of this lexiophilic palaver.  It’s time for me to absquatulate.  Bye!

John S. Spencer
Sausalito CA 94966