Michael Gilleland believes it was coined by Ezra Pound (“It occurs in one of the Pisan Cantos, dated 1948”). I wonder if the Spanish-speaking peoples, who have considerable experience in the field, may not have been first. José Ortega Munilla’s Chispas del yunque were published in ABC 1920-2, and in GBS’ useless snippet view he has someone “ensayando el dominio de la PEORCRACIA”. Re the query in Michael’s penultimate para: it makes some kind of sense to suppose that Pound took the word from Spanish and then Latinised it rather than getting confused, or feigning confusion, in his Latin–peor is both comparative and superlative in Spanish.
(Porfirio Cristaldo Ayala says that the Argentine Jorge Luis García Venturini invented kakistocracia directly from the Greek (in a 1975 piece), so without assistance from the English-speaking world, which, however, according to the etymologists, has known government of the worst since at least 1641.)
- who cares if languages die out?
From Sri Lanka’s Daily News: In a message to the first celebration [of International Mother Language Day in 2000] United Nations Secretary-General
- Freudian false friend hamstrings Spanish government’s City presentation
An amusing and presumably unintended glimpse of the Spanish economic pushmi-pullyu–are structural reforms for real or merely for foreigners?–is to be
- An untranslatable pome?
Over at Futility Closet: rua torta lua morta tua porta. No solution occurs to me, but in general rendering in English Portuguese meaning
I’d have thought that trammeled was one of the family of misfits that also includes that happy couple, feck and gorm.
- The worst translation ever published, hotel foyer penalty shoot-outs, lovers of pigs: paving on the road to hell
Between thieves, who profit from mistranslation, and fools, who know no better (and no profit), there lurks an intriguing class: lunatics,