Wednesday 17 August 2011


A musomastix is an enemy of the muses. Therefore, anyone or anything that distracts you while you're trying to write is a musomastix.

Mastix was the Ancient Greek word for whip, and, back in the sixteenth and seventeenth century inventing -mastix words seems to have been a popular sport. A select few plucked from the OED are:

Popomastic - Inimical to the Pope
Histriomastix - An enemy of actors
Infantomastix - Somebody who agrees with St Augustine that unbaptised infants go to Hell
Female-mastix - Somebody who writes denunciations of women

The great thing is that you can just make a up a mastix word of your own. All you need is a prefix. So you could be a twittermastix, or workomastic, or practice gymmastix.

Confusingly, mastix can occasionally be the other way round. A theomastix is God's appointed punisher, somebody who wields God's whip for Him, rather than somebody who tries to whip God.

Anybody who does carry a whip, whether for reasons theological, equestrian or voluptuous, is, by the same root, mastigophorous.

I shall now leave you with hospitality-management advice from Hamlet:

...use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping? Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.

Leave them be

And for a word utterly unrelated to whips, have a look at this old post of mine on backlash.


  1. If I were looking for musomastiges, I would go to Porlock. A dominatrix could be referred to as a gymnomastix. She would probably enjoy that, plus, depending on how athletic her sessions, it could have a punning double-appropriateness.


  2. This post has proved musomastic to me this very morning... but then almost everything is.

    No relation to the word 'mastic' I suppose, a resin in English, but chewing gum in Israel! (which must relate to mastication?) ... So would someone who hated chewing gum be masticmastic?