Tuesday 28 August 2012


At first blush (or even second) brimborium sounds rather like a place name from The Lord of the Rings. But in the proper context, its OED meaning makes some sort of satisfactory sense. So, Fanny Burney in 1786 referred to:

...brimborions, baubles, knick-knacks, gewgaws.

So a brimborion is a shiny, worthless nothing. It comes from the French breborion, which was defined in a 1611 dictionary as:

Old dunsicall books; also the foolish charmes, or superstitious prayers, used by old, and simple women, against the tooth-ache etc; any such thredbare, and mustie rags of blind devotion.

Duncical books and threadbare rags would mean that I have several breborion cupboards in my bedroom alone.


  1. I challenge anyone to use 'brimborion' in conversation this week.
    Please report results.

  2. Wonderful post, It is really not difficult to study your blog.. The information of your site is strictly wonderful & your blog structure is simple nice... It appears never dazzled... So excellent ... It's a treasure for me to reading your blog..

  3. Add to your praise, laughter that is so very good for health.