Thursday, August 19, 2010


PHYSIOGNOMY, n. The art of determining the character of another by the resemblances and differences between his face and our own, which is the standard of excellence.
"There is no art," says Shakespeare, foolish man,
"To read the mind's construction in the face."
The physiognomists his portrait scan,
And say: "How little wisdom here we trace!
He knew his face disclosed his mind and heart,
So, in his own defence, denied our art."
—Lavatar Shunk
2010 Update: The study of the inner character by outward features, by which it has been proven that appearances may be deceiving. For example, by the application of ancient Greek rootwords to mean SUPERFICIALITY.


the amoeba said...

PHYSIOGNOMY, n. A fictional science much practiced at Baker Street, and falsified at Auschwitz despite a concerted effort to destroy the evidence.

Thom said...

PHYSIOGNOMY, n - Circus clowns

pia said...

I actually know people who can't tell the difference between faces and have to figure out something else about the person to distinguish them. Find that fascinating

Al said...

Physiognomy: the judging of a gnome's tome by its cover.

Hi, Dougie.

C.J. Duffy said...

Physiognomy is a word that, it should be remembered, when spoken in old London dialect, is pronounced as Fizi Ogon Me, which me means the beers are on me.

karen a. said...

Lost in translation?

TLP said...

Beauty is only skin deep.
But ugly to the bone.
Beauty slowly fades away.
While ugly holds its own.

actonbell said...

Phrenologists were the original Shallow Hals.

cooper said...

Physiognomy: I have no clever thoughts but I think of the wicked step mom in Snow white and her visage in the mirror and of course Dorian Gray.

Jim said...

Well, physiognomy on it. I probably will forget this word anyway??

Really, Doug, this is neat post. But I still will forget.

I did learn, from Google, also to be forgotten, that Lavatar Shunk is a person found only by Ambrose Bierce. Makes me wonder if Ambrose made him up. Like someone else makes up people on this blog occasionally.
I am thinking that a West Coast blogger may come along and interpret by disecting, defining the parts, and then reconstructing a defining sentence using the meaningful definition fragments.
I think that is akin to phonics.

Doug said...

Amoeba, Sherlock Holmes as the smarter Mengele?

Thom, or the guy at the Winnemucca A&W?

Pia, there are enough disabilities out there that we all need to find something else to distinguish us.

Hey, Al, old pal! Good to hear from you and who you calling "gnome?"

Good to hear, C.J. I wonder what the fare to London is like now.

Karen, almost constantly.

TLP, I bet you read that to the girls while they were still in the crib.

Actonbell, I'd almost forgotten that great movie.

Two good examples, Cooper, along with Narcissus since we're not gender-typing around here.

Jim, flattish forehead?