Armando thingy and girning

minnow at minnow at
Tue May 31 16:01:23 EDT 2005

Verity replied to me:

>> What I want to know is, why did they fix it?
>The obvious answer seems to be "because it wasn't broken".

You are probably right at that. :-(

>> Is he officially described as "gurning", or is it just that Armando
>> Somebody-Suddenly-Famous (whom I can't spell reliably) decided to use that
>> word about whatever the new Doctor's name is's facial expressions so often
>> that everyone went along with it?
>Is Armando not Official enough? Other people on his unfortunately-named
>Radio Four show were also saying it...

No, he isn't Official enough.  I suppose if he keeps on banging on about
it, it may become the Official Description of the actor in question's face,
but I thought it was just a comedien trying for a reasonably cheap laugh,
meself.  It's easy enough to make fun of someone's features, and now that
going for laughs about physical disability or obesity has quite rightly
been deemed to be offensive, we're left with "this bloke has what the
'comic' consideers to be a silly face/teeth/laugh/stammer/accent" for such

That the others on his show were also saying it was what I meant by
"everyone went along with it".

>> "Gurning" is better spelt "girning", by the way, because it comes from
>> "girn", which is an ME variant of "grin".
>But the National Championship spells it with a "u", presumably because the
>event organisers can then own the term? So if you love Official variants...

It's listed as a variant spelling in Collins (1999) and Chambers (1988), so
I doubt that the National Championship could easily lay claim to the word
at this late date, but on the other hand Chambers 1926 and the SOD 1933 and
1972 don't list "gurning" or "gurn" at all, so presumably that (phonetic?)
spelling is more recent than that and I s'pose it might exist for the
benefit of the Championship folk or have been invented by them.


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