• Carmen Milligan

Moira Rose is doing logophiles a favor

Matriarch of the Rose family on the hit series "Schitt's Creek", Moira Rose, has single-handedly brought attention, humor, and relevance to seldom-used and very old fashioned words. A wonderful example is in the final episode of the series, on the day David (her son) is to be married. David wakes to find that the officiant has cancelled because it is raining. Moira asks, "“What kind of adult man rides a penny-farthing?” I had heard the term before, but didn't know exactly what it meant. Basically, it's a bicycle. Brilliant!


With her outlandish (and VERY designer) clothes, her numerous wigs (which all have names), statement jewelry (she wears brooches to bed, for heaven's sakes!), and an accent described as "Canadian dainty", actress Catherine O'Hara has elevated this already eccentric character into the stratosphere of camp. The fact that she uses these archaic words sprinkled throughout her vocabulary makes her all the more compelling to a lover of the language.


O'Hara's penchant for out-of-use words caused her makeup artist to gift her a copy of "Foyle's Philavery" by Christopher Foyle. Foyle has a very interesting history in and of himself, but I am going to focus on the words used. However, do me a favor, and look into this interesting man in your spare time.


Chief Justice John Roberts used the word "pettifogging" during his opening comments of the latest United States impeachment trial. But, no one uses the word better than Moira. In another episode, she calls her daughter a "little frippet". In yet another instance, she tells her husband that he has certain "peccadillos".


Any word used by someone that makes me run to the dictionary is a good one! An excuse to learn, expand my vocabulary, and spread the joy of the language to others by employing these rarely-used jewels in conversation is one of the pleasures of loving the language.


Let me know what your favorite seldom-used word is. Don't fall victim to the pablum of everyday vernacular. Spice up your language!

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