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What does the word "merds" mean?

 
 
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 02:47 am
Neither Webster nor the OED electronic seems to know. The context, from Nabokov's "The Visit to the Museum," is as follows: "sacrilegists...were altogether very purple-faced and full of pep as they tried to extract the municipal councillor's merds from beneath the glass."

Being somewhat familiar with Nabokov, I think this might be some sort of joke I just don't get. Can someone explain it to me?
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Type: Question • Score: 4 • Views: 8,482 • Replies: 9
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stuntpickle
 
  2  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 03:33 am
@stuntpickle,
Nevermind. I was looking up the plural in the OED, but I have just found the singular there.

For anyone interested, "merd" means a piece of excrement.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 03:39 am
@stuntpickle,
stuntpickle wrote:
For anyone interested, "merd" means a piece of excrement.


From the French "merde" - (these days it occupies the same linguistic space as the word "****" does in English)
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 08:18 am
@stuntpickle,

Maybe I shouldn't ask...but what were the municipal councillor's stools doing under glass in a museum?
stuntpickle
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 09:29 am
@McTag,
I suppose they were just sitting there.

Seriously though, they do not constitute a major portion of the story, which is a fantasy centered around a marvelously weird museum.
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munickat
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Nov, 2011 09:44 am
I do not understand the context in which "merds" is used in "Gerontion," a T.S. Eliot poem :
"The goat coughs at night in the field over head / Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron merds. . . ."
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Nov, 2011 09:47 am
@munickat,
munickat wrote:

I do not understand the context in which "merds" is used in "Gerontion," a T.S. Eliot poem :
"The goat coughs at night in the field over head / Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron merds. . . ."


you missed out a comma.

Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron, merds.

The rocks and the moss, the stonecrop, the iron and the merds, comprise the landscape's waste, everything that civilisation rejects.

Asophis
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Mar, 2012 03:26 pm
@McTag,
I imagine it's tongue in cheek. By that, he means trivial artifacts, in the same way that Twitter updates are often described as "trivial ass drippings."

I hope this helps, haha.
0 Replies
 
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Mar, 2012 12:26 am
@contrex,
contrex wrote:

munickat wrote:

I do not understand the context in which "merds" is used in "Gerontion," a T.S. Eliot poem :
"The goat coughs at night in the field over head / Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron merds. . . ."


you missed out a comma.

Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron, merds.

The rocks and the moss, the stonecrop, the iron and the merds, comprise the landscape's waste, everything that civilisation rejects.




Good job Contrex.
0 Replies
 
peter k
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Apr, 2022 08:46 am
@McTag,
Earlier in the text Nabokov writes: " A photograph of an astonished gentleman with a pointed beard dominated an assortment of strange black lumps of various sizes. They bore a great resemblance to frozen frass..."
Frass means : the excrements of insect larvae . The custodian can not explain the nature of the exhibit, but gives the info that they were found by the Municipal Councillor depicted on the photo.
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