January 16, 2007


farrago: one of many words used to describe a mixture of diverse objects. n. From the Latin word for mixed fodder for cattle, related to farina and farinaceous. Other words for this kind of mishmash are: hodgepodge, gallimaufry, olio, potpourri, goulash, salmagundi, pastiche, omnium gatherum (itself a mixture), and even minestrone.

"They persist in compounding the original error, if that is what it was, with a farrago of falsehoods."
--I Always Look Up the Word "Egregious," Maxwell Nurnberg

Bloggin John Comments:
If you are curious about the meanings of farina and farinaceous, here is how they are defined in The Century Dictionary:

1. In a
general sense, meal or flour. Specifically--2.
A soft, tasteless, and commonly white flour,
obtained by trituration of the seeds of cereal
and leguminous plants, and of some roots, as
the potato. It consists of gluten, starch, and
mucilage.--3. A preparation of white maize
in granular form, coarser than meal, but finer
than hominy. It is used for puddings, etc.
[U. S.]

farinaceous (far-i-na'shius), a. 1. Consisting or made of
meal or flour: as, a fariaceo,s diet, which con-
sists of articles prepared from the meal or flour
of the various species of corn or grain.
When one huge wooden bowl before them stood,
Fill'd with huge balls offarinaceous food.
Crabbe, Works, IV. 154.

* The Century Dictionary:
The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia was one of the largest and most highly regarded encyclopedic dictionaries of the English language. The first edition was published from 1889 to 1891 by the Century Company of New York, in six, eight, or ten volume versions (originally issued in 24 fascicles) in 7,046 pages with some 10,000 wood-engraved illustrations. It was edited by Sanskrit scholar and linguist William Dwight Whitney, with Benjamin Eli Smith's assistance. It was a great expansion of the smaller Imperial Dictionary, which in turn had been based on the 1841 edition of Noah Webster's American Dictionary.

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