Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Meaning: "turning as an ox in plowing"; writing which alternates left-to-right, right-to-left, left-to-right, right-to-left, etc, etc.

Logofascination: 1. Bous- is cow (which is why Bosphorus and Oxford are, etymologically, the same place), and -strophe is turning (which is why an apostrophe takes the place of something that has been turned away.)

In the wild: Antony Green is Australia's premier psephologist*, and it's the casual use of words like 'boustrophedon' that keep him that way. (Update: boustrophedon turned up in Stan Carey's review of Shady Characters.)

Usefulness: 2. My mother used to complain of us wandering about like Brown's cows; perhaps if she'd complained of our Boustrophedonitis we'd have paid more attention.

*one of the few good things about elections; political writers love dragging this word out. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear. To think all these year's I have accused people of acting as if they are drunk.