Help with Howl: Rugby, Welshisms and saucepans

Ven vendersleighc at
Wed Mar 16 21:18:28 EST 2005

Philip wrote

<Ven, replying to Gili:

>> Is Howell a particularly Welsh name?
> As others have said, yes, but it's ranked below
> the most cliched/commonest Welsh names like
> David/Daffyd/Dai/Taffy (is the last
> perjorative?).

Yes, Taffy is pejorative (despite which I have a 
respectable book of
nursery rhymes that contains the traditional 
"Taffy was a Welshman,
Taffy was a thief" that Fritz Leiber uses in "Our

Lady of Darkness").

I wasn't sure because the line between  actual
names that are used as insults and insulting
names is a hazy one. (From a recent Panorama
programme about the "rivalry" between Rangers and
Celtic fans in Glasgow I learned that "Tim" can
be a bad word, although thankfully the younger
generation seemed unaware of this.)

> Side note, the common surname Powell is derived
> from Howell via Ap Howell, son of.

More to the point, Howell's sister's married 
surname, Parry, is probably
from Ap Harry (or Ap Barry, I suppose).  Loads of

Welsh surnames are
formed this way: Pugh (or Puw), Bowen, Bevan, 
Pritchard, and so on.

(FWIW Manx surnames do the same with the Mac 
prefix, giving forms like

Oh that's what those Qu names are all about.
>> Would a Rugby club be a group of fans, or the
>> actual players themselves?!

I've always read it as the organisation to which 
you belong if you are
interested, and of whom the 15 best players (if 
they can find that many)
form the team.  The other club members, with 
family and friends, then go
along and watch.>

Yes, that's better than what I said.


<Penstemon is the name of a flower. If I had to 
guess, I'd say she picked it 
(no pun intended) because it was a nice 
dignified-sounding word and rather like 
Pendragon. I don't know why Mrs. Pentstemmon has 
two T's and two M's.>

I think the additional letters change the stress
and make it more namelike -- PENTstemmon 
as opposed to penSTEMon -- but that's just how I
pronounce 'em.

This is a nice picture of Penstemon "Garnet",
which is one I have in my garden. It flowers
freely from July to November and it's one of my
favourite plants:

Thanks for starting this Gili, I love these kind
of discussions. Only two replies on the other
list so far, I'll see what comes in tomorrow,
when people are back at work.


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