Sunday, November 28, 2004

Hoist on his own petard

I get great joy when I can find an error in smarter people than me. This morning the Civil War historian, Shelby Foote, was interviewed on booknotes for several hours. he said that some historian/general was "hoisted on his own petard."

What do you think it means?


Below is the definition of "petard". Read it and then die laughing at all the Springfield editorial writers/historians/learned folk that get it wrong.

[French pétard, from Old French, from peter, to break wind, from pet, a breaking of wind, from Latin pditum, from neuter past participle of pdere, to break wind. See pezd- in Indo-European Roots.]
Word History: The French used pétard, “a loud discharge of intestinal gas,” for a kind of infernal engine for blasting through the gates of a city. “To be hoist by one's own petard,” a now proverbial phrase apparently originating with Shakespeare's Hamlet (around 1604) not long after the word entered English (around 1598), means “to blow oneself up with one's own bomb, be undone by one's own devices.” The French noun pet, “fart,” developed regularly from the Latin noun pditum, from the Indo-European root *pezd-, “fart.”


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