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Word for the Wise February 22, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Braggadocio & ignoramus

If Edmund Spenser had been a boasting sort of fellow, he could well have claimed to have written the book on boasting. After all, that 16th century poet identified the personification of boasting as Braggadocio in his classic The Fairie Queene. (来源:英语学习门户网站EnglishCN.com)

Of course, then, to be fair, Spenser might have had to own up to writing the book on ignorance, too, since in that same poetic allegory, he introduced readers to Ignaro, an undisputed dunce. For a relatively brief period of time, ignaro existed in the lexicon as a term for "an utterly ignorant person," but it was superseded by Ignoramus, the ignorant title character (a lawyer) in an early 17th century play by George Ruggle.

Before the term ignoramus was applied to people, it had another sense in the courts. Ignoramus named the endorsement (or the bill returned with such an endorsement) formerly written on a bill of indictment by a grand jury when it considered the evidence insufficient to warrant the finding of a true bill.

But back to braggadocio. Before Edmund Spenser even completed writing his book in 1596, braggadocio had appeared in print with the meaning "braggart;" it then developed a sense referring simply to empty boasting, arrogant pretension, or cockiness.

 
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