Monday, July 21, 2008


ZANZIBARI, n. An inhabitant of the Sultanate of Zanzibar, off the eastern coast of Africa. The Zanzibaris, a warlike people, are best known in this country through a threatening diplomatic incident that occurred a few years ago. The American consul at the capital occupied a dwelling that faced the sea, with a sandy beach between. Greatly to the scandal of this official's family, and against repeated remonstrances of the official himself, the people of the city persisted in using the beach for bathing. One day a woman came down to the edge of the water and was stooping to remove her attire (a pair of sandals) when the consul, incensed beyond restraint, fired a charge of bird-shot into the most conspicuous part of her person. Unfortunately for the existing entente cordiale between two great nations, she was the Sultana.

2008 Update:  The purest variant of Swahili as determined by the English linguists who first studied the language on the island of Zanzibar.


Al said...

Zanzibari! What you yell as your stomach drops at the realization that Doug's reached the (gulp) Z's.

(You're not scraping up the last of Bierce, are you, Doug?)

Doug The Una said...

Yes and no, Al. I jump around the alphabet so next week could be "A" words, like Al and, well, Al. But it is true that come Mondays I choose the letter by where I think the most unused words are while, until a year ago or so, I chose the letter by words I thought were apt for the week. I'm pretty sure I can go another year or more.

TLP said...

Whew! I've worried about the end. True. I have. You'll have to morph into Ambrose yourself when you've done them all.

Zanzibari: A candy bar for the Indiana Jones movies.

Unknown said...

keep those damn grapes off the beach, or they will turn into sultanas!

ifnzqap: if only kiwis wore a cap

Anonymous said...

Karma stole my line! But then, Yanks might not know that, in the Queen's Commonwealth, sultanas is the most-used word for "dried grapes". Knowing that significantly affects this definition's raisin d'être.

Jim said...

Zanzibari: Zanzibarian woman carries basket on her head on beach of Ocean Paradise Beach Resort on the East

Zanzibari: Function: geographical name (per Merriam-Webster):
1. island E Africa off NE Tanzania mainland area 600 square miles (1554 square kilometers), population 375,539; formerly a sultanate, with Pemba & adjacent islands forming a British protectorate; became independent 1963; united 1964 with Tanganyika to form Tanzania
2. city & port capital of the island & formerly of protectorate population 278,900
Zan·zi·bari \ˌzan-zə-ˈbär-ē\ noun or adjective [with no definition]

Zanzibari: Image:Zanzibar Woman c. 1890 [expired]

Zanzibari: Image:Zanzibari Woman c. 1890 [expired]

Zanzibari: My hunch is that Zanzibarian is more correct but I don't have time to do enough research on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Can only guess she was one of the original spice girls...Peace

Anonymous said...


"No dumb jokes, dude!"

"From me? Never! But this Zanzibar story did remind me of something."


"About what you get when you cross Don Rickles with Queen Latifah."

"Dude! What did I just ...?!?"

"An insultana, dude!"

"Go to your room, dude. Now!:

Anonymous said...

You know how Zanzibar got it's name, right? Zandar and Stanley, two enterprising young cousins, put together a traveling circus and set out to make their fortunes in Africa. Stan, despite being a Frenchman, spoke English with a cultivated Italian accent. This left his English almost unintelligible to strangers, but he thought he sounded sophisticated. Zan was also a little unusual. He carried seven good luck talismans and practiced a dozen or so inviolate rituals daily -- and had several dozen more for special occasions.

The voyage across the sea passed without incident until, just a few days from the coast of Africa, Sully, a light brown grizzly bear, broke free of his cage and mauled and munched a deck hand. Several more sailors lost their lives trying to contain the big bear. Finally, it was decided that the hold should be sealed and not reopened until land was reached. Neither Stan nor Zan were thrilled with that decision, but the sailors had made it pretty clear that either Stan and Zan went into the hold themselves, or no one went into the hold.

So, for three days and three nights, no one went into the hold. Occasionally snarling and gnashing and roaring would erupt from below. Horses screamed, pigs squealed, and the bear roared. As the raging animal destroyed their livelihood, Zan wailed that it was all Stan’s fault, for he hadn’t participated in the ritual for safe passage when they boarded the ship, and he did not offer hourly petitions to the King of the Sea for uneventful sailing.

Finally they came to a place along the African coast known today as Stone Town. The sailors lowered Stan and Zan over the side of the ship in a small boat, after Zan had given it a ritual blessing to insure safe passage. The sailors also promised the two young men that whatever animals still remained alive below would be delivered to them ashore. Stan and Zan rowed to the beach feeling more than a little relieved that they wouldn't be the ones trying to cage the grizzly.

As they rowed toward shore, Zan said, "We are arriving here in less than auspicious circumstances. We are short on cash and most likely short on animals, too. Those that Sully hasn't eaten have been several days without food. We will need the blessing of this new land if we are to prosper here."

Stan said, "Ah pleeza. Nod za blezzing ridual. Id takz hourz! We need-a fine-a town and zecure-a domizle for uz and zee animales. Jou blezz, I go-a …"

"No!" Zan shouted. "You did not perform the ritual with me when we boarded the ship, and look what happened. The grizzly escaped and who knows how many animals we still have alive? This we will do together!" Zan threw himself prostrate on the ground and began exhorting Mother Earth to accept his prayers and praise and keep him free of any danger on these, her foreign shores.

About that time Stan looked over his shoulder and realized that the sailors had somehow managed to get into the hold and were releasing the animals into the sea – in fact, had been releasing them from almost the time the cousins left the ship – and Sully, the grizzly bear, was already loping up the beach toward them.

Stan ran. Sully gave chase. As Stan passed Zan, he yelled, “Zan, ze bear! Zan ze behr!” But Zan, prostrate in the sand, continued his ritual. The sailors on the ship watched the spectacle with glee and all agreed it was the best show the cousins ever offered. For months thereafter they repeated the tale to each other and anyone else who would listen. Soon, that area of Africa was commonly referred to as the “Zan ze bear” place.

As to Zan, once Sully was replete, he again became quite tame and danced willingly at the summons of a flute, so the two of them traveled about the area and whenever anyone new saw Sully, they would yell, “Agh!” Soon the bear became well known in Zan-ze-behr as Sully-the-tan-Agh!

tsduff said...

Zanzibari - Isn't that the place from which Ariel The Thief hails? OOPS - that's the other Z-word, Zimbabwe.

Anonymous said...

Doug -- I must be Zanzibari, because in the great tradition of Zanzibar (Okay, Ivory Coast, whatever) I seem to have hijacked your blog. OC told me I am naughty. Do I owe an apology? Let me know soon because I'll have to go see if I can find one.

Doug The Una said...

TLP, I don't know if I can decay that fast.

Karma, that was a good way to work some South Asian humor into an American blog. If only I'd found out sooner there was South Asian humor.

Amoeba, very nice pun at the end.

Jim, Zanzibari is correct if you're transcribing Bierce, which is all I need to know.

Good one, Bear.

Those dudes, huh, Amoeba? I feel for you having them between your ears.

Quilly, that's a good story I thought was going to end at ze bar. And yet, I could find no mention of it on Wikipedia. Are you sure it's true?

No, Terry, Harare's the capitol of Hungary.

Barbary Coast, Quilly. Feel like telling that story?

TLP said...

I think Quilly's story has the ring of truth about it.

Jamie Dawn said...

I'll think twice about removing my sandals when I go down to the creek.

tsduff said...

not according to her link... ha ha

Tom & Icy said...

Hmmm. What's for supper?

Ariel the Thief said...

Terry, my profile keeps surprising me too. ;)

Doug The Una said...

TLP, I agree it sounds very reasonable, but if it were true, wouldn't it include a link to Wikipedia or The Daily Kos?

JD, I always check around for shotguns before disrobing.

Terry, you're right! 150 friend points and an apology.

Actonbell, I though Freddie Mercury was Parsi. Was he born in Zanzibar?

Cat, Icy.

Ariel, that's funny. By "Transportation," I assume you ferry souls.

Anonymous said...

Doug, what if I were to tell you that I'm link impaired?