March 12, 2007


bruit [broot] –verb (used with object)
• to voice abroad; rumor
(used chiefly in the passive [voice] and often fol. by about): to bruit about the President's latest red herrings and question-begging epithets

"The report was bruited through the village." Unabridged (v 1.1)
bruit, bruit·ed, bruit·ing, bruits
t.v. To spread news of; repeat.
• n. 1 Medicine An abnormal sound heard in auscultation [listening to the the rhythms of the human body via stethoscope]
2 Archaic a.rumor b. A din; a din, a clamor.
ETY. From Middle English, noise, from Old French, past participle of bruire, to roar, from Vulgar Latin *brgre (blend of Latin rgre and Vulgar Latin *bragere, to bray, of Celtic origin).
--American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2000.



"Three phrases, new and old, are being bruited about the world of English. If you're not using at least one, you are letting the language pass you by."--William Safire, "Vogue Words." "On Language," The New York Times Magazine of March 11, 2007.
[The phrases Mr. Safire refers to are age-appropriate, to show ankle?, and go figure.]


One might imagine the story of bruit as a fable featuring a tough, blunt, square-chested cockalorum* prancing raucously through five countries named The Celtic, Vulgar Latin, Latin, Old French, and The Middle English. Along the way, he exercises regularly a crude proclivity: the quirky urge to bray or roar or shout other cockaloric noises (however they might sound) in the faces of people who provoke him--and that means just about everybody.
With time and too many sore throats and bruises about the face, he slows down and eventually settles in a place called Middle English. Nowadays he enjoys sitting on his front porch chatting-- with his newly cultivated energetic yet civil voice--among neighbors and passers by about the news and rumors of the day--punctuating his words, on occasion, with jokes and bolts of bellowing of laughter.
*cockalorum: A little cock, a bantam; hence a self-important man, esp. a small man [From 1st COCK, perh. imitative of high sounding Latin.]--Webster's 3rd.


Bruit: a verb that resounds with meaning.


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