Pismire - was: Re: Book IDs (a longish delurk)

Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk
Mon Jan 31 12:35:45 EST 2000

>> believe his characters duel one another with the fearsome weapon known as
>> the "pismire".  Anyone who's not grinning should run for a dictionary.
> I did - but as i only have an "Advanced Learner's Dictionary", and get
> around guessing words from the context now (which leads to a large
> passive vocabulary, but bad translations - I do mostly connotations
> now, when asked what words mean), there's nothing between "Pisces" and
> "pistachio" but "piss" ;} so please, explain!

According to the copy of Chambers' 20th Century Dictionary that my next-door
colleague keeps on his window sill (or possibly window cill, but ISTR Gair
always sat on a window sill in Garholt):

Pismire, the ant or emmet.  Probably from Piss, from the stink of the anthill.

This required one further cross-reference:

Emmet, an ant (archaic)

(note that in Cornwall, "emmet" usually means "tourist", since they swarm all
over the place like ants.  Many other parts of England, but especially the south
coast, call tourists "grockles", but I have no idea what that comes from)


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