Friday, September 03, 2010


HAUTBOY, n. The least noisy of boys.

2010 Update: A double-reeded instrument named for its similarity to a Parisian waiter.


Ariel the Thief said...

The sexiest musical instrument in a man's hands. Although its English name is hilarious, the Ancient Greek would have loved it.

TLP said...

Oh, boy, what can you say about a hautboy?

Well, it's a kid who is a conical bore and who has a double-reed mouthpiece. Thus, the combination of being boring and speaking out of both sides of his mouth is deadly. Avoid hautboys at all costs.

cooper said...

You hit the nail on the head except it's a Cuban waiter.

the amoeba said...


1. Noble adolescent (funny you should mention the Greeks, Ariel).

2. Child whose musical qualities have attracted the attention of scouts for the FIBA. I'd write 'NBA', 'cept that next year there won't be an NBA.

Jim said...

Did't know hautboy
not in vocabulary
I know oboe well

Thanks Doug, you are a good teacher. :)

karen a. said...

Doug. Everyone already knows that Parisian waiters are rude. Might I suggest purchasing this travel guide for your library?

Frommer's Irreverent Guide to Paris

quilly said...

Of course you know that hautboy is derived from a combination of "haughty" and "boy" and was originally used in reference to oboe player, Al Wise d'Best. Over time the appellation was given to other conceited oboe players and then their horns, although the horns on their own did nothing to deserve it.

tsduff said...

Hautboy sounds like some boy who enjoys haute cuisine. But after I googled hautboy - I was amazed to see it is an oboe... Ariel, I think the English pronunciation you are making isn't as you think ha ha :)

Anonymous said...

HAUTBOY, n. Any relation to Poorboy? LOL Oh I get it. Only takes me 3 posts to catch up LOL Have an excellent weekend my friend :)

NicoleB said...

Boys that aren't noisy is an oxymoron, no?

Anonymous said...

Hot boy?

That's my kinda word to define.

actonbell said...

This may be totally irrelevant, but I'm picturing a little faun with a flute and horns that are all natural:)

Nessa said...

O, boe! This word, the definitions and the comments are a bit haughty for me.

Doug said...

Ariel, that's sure. Although they might not have recognized Franglish since neither language existed then.

TLP, what kid isn't a conical bore, I ask you.

Cooper, one who gives away your drink?

Amoeba, that's bad news. Do you know something I don't?

Thanks, Jim, and you're a good haikuist.

Appreciate the recommendation, Karen but when I'm abroad I like to either visit friends or get lost. No need for a guide.

Quilly, I did not know that, actually. You're so aerodeight.

Oh, Terry, I didn't get Ariel's joke at all. Thanks for the translation. That is funny.

Ariel, "au" is normally pronounced like the Hungarian "a" but in the French this comes from it is more like "o."

Thom, only in that you can probably get a whole one in your mouth.

Nicole, I was a quiet boy, but I admit it's almost an oxymoron.

Jenn, you're going to confuse Ariel.

Actonbell, Faun's are ever relevant.

Nessa, we got fancy friends.

the amoeba said...

Dawg, the word is "lockout".

I hate to disagree with such learned and talented lexicographers and etymologists as the Dawg and the Quillster, but I consider Quilly's derivations to be insufficient, and I reckon that the heirs of Mr. d'Best consider them slanderous. (Everyone knows that d'Best was a trumpet player.)

"Haut" simply means "high", whilst "boy" means "wood" (French bois). From this we derive hautboy: pipe; implement for the consumption of 'funny smoke'.

Clearly it came to pass, one day, that a circle of consumers was gathered around the pipe, and one of their number, having perhaps toked once too often, was taken with a fit of humor and giggled into the pipe. After the smoke cleared, someone else in the circle said, "Hey, that was cool. Do it again." The rest is, well, you know.

quilly said...

Doug, did you mean errodeight?

Amoeba, your ego is louder than your trumpet. Showing me up isn't in your best interests. Now what's for dinner?