Tuesday, June 10, 2008


SYLPH, n. An immaterial but visible being that inhabited the air when the air was an element and before it was fatally polluted with factory smoke, sewer gas and similar products of civilization. Sylphs were allied to gnomes, nymphs and salamanders, which dwelt, respectively, in earth, water and fire, all now insalubrious. Sylphs, like fowls of the air, were male and female, to no purpose, apparently, for if they had progeny they must have nested in accessible places, none of the chicks having ever been seen.

2008 Update:  An air spirit first imagined by Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim aka Paracelsus née Phillip von Hohenheim, which is to say, a self-referential redundancy.


Lammy said...

I caught the Sylph off of somebody.

TLP said...

Oh TOM!!! You are soooooo bad. Who could follow that one?

mireille said...

heh, lammy. Doug doesn't like that kind of stuff. Hope you got treated.

Can a Phillipus be née?

A sylph-like quality is considered a positive to those well-rounded in Vogue requirements.


Jim said...

Sylph: OMGosh! I hope it isn't catching? Is it?

Sylph: I don't remember ever knowing this word. BUT, my association right away was with those flighty little nymphs.

Sylph: I don't remember ever knowing this word. BUT, I would use it for Jumbo in a minute.

Sylph: I don't remember ever knowing this word. BUT, my association right away was with those flighty little nymphs.

Sylph: I don't remember ever knowing this word. AND, now I can forget it again.

quilly said...

Me, my sylph, and I want you to know it isn't nith to make fun of people who lisph.

Ariel the Thief said...

I remmeber the first comments of Lammy on this site. She made me blush, she didn't even have to say the word, "sylph".

cooper said...

I know the word in two forms but never heard of the gentleman referred to.

I know have something else to read up on.

Doug said...

Lammy, be careful when you come up for air.

TLP, That Tom!

Mireille, ma belle francaise, is née gendered? I'm willing to edit.

Haha, Jim. They're distracting, aren't they?

Thufferin' thuccotash, Quilldanther!

Ariel, her sister was worse! I think you're right to use the new photo as your avatar, too. That's a good 'un.

Cooper, it isn't surprising, I suppose, that occultists are most interesting in death.

Jamie Dawn said...

If Sylphs are like a Faeries, then I like them.
I've always been a fan of faeries.
I have Tinkerbell t-shirts, and I kind of wish I was Tinkerbell.
We are just now seeing fireflies (a.k.a. lightning bugs) here in the evenings. I sit on my back porch at night and watch them light up. They seem like faeries to me, and I just am delighted with them!!

actonbell said...

I didn't know that about this word. I wonder what would happen if I google-imaged it.

actonbell said...

Apparently, Doug, they're all female in this society. And not everything they wear is transparent.

TLP said...


Doug said...

J.D., I surely do miss fireflies. Your mentioning them might be the reason I could think of no evil to speak this morning.

Actonbell, that was an inspired idea. I got the impression from following your lead that most artists confuse them with oreads, neriads, fairies and fish. An appropriate fate for a vapor of the air.

TLP, a transient good mood. Infuriating!

weirsdo said...

Guardian of women's virtue, or at least toilette, in RAPE OF THE LOCK.

Doug said...

Weirsdo, this will require some googling, won't it?

Alexander Pope said...

To Fifty chosen Sylphs, of special Note,
We trust th' important Charge, the Petticoat:
Oft have we known that sev'nfold Fence to fail,
Tho' stiff with Hoops, and arm'd with Ribs of Whale.