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Re: Nonperson

Posted by Alan on November 04, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Nonperson posted by Alan on November 02, 2003

: : : : : : : Seeking Help

: : : : : : : Many years ago I worked in Sotland. A Glaswegian friend used a word to describe a colleague. I asked what it meant and was told that it described a person who, on entering a room, gave the impression someone had just left. Sadly I forgot the word and have often felt the need of it.

: : : : : : : Can anyone help, does it exist or was I having my leg pulled?

: : : : : : Could it be "persona non grata." From Merriam-Webster online:
: : : : : :
: : : : : : Main Entry: per.so.na non gra.ta
: : : : : : Pronunciation: p&r-'sO-n&-"nän-'gra-t&, -'grä-
: : : : : : Function: adjective
: : : : : : Etymology: New Latin, unacceptable person
: : : : : : Date: 1904
: : : : : : : personally unacceptable or unwelcome

: : : : : : Or could it be:

: : : : : : Mr. Cellophane
: : : : : : (From "Chicago")

: : : : : : If someone stood up in a crowd
: : : : : : And raised his voice up way out loud
: : : : : : And waved his arm and shook his leg
: : : : : : You'd notice him
: : : : : : If someone in the movie show
: : : : : : Yelled "Fire in the second row
: : : : : : This whole place is a powder keg!"
: : : : : : You'd notice him

: : : : : : And even without clucking like a hen
: : : : : : Everyone gets noticed, now and then,
: : : : : : Unless, of course, that personage should be
: : : : : : Invisible, inconsequential me!

: : : : : : Cellophane
: : : : : : Mister Cellophane
: : : : : : Shoulda been my name
: : : : : : Mister Cellophane
: : : : : : 'Cause you can look right through me
: : : : : : Walk right by me
: : : : : : And never know I'm there...

: : : : : Or could it have been "nebbish"? From Yiddish "nebech." (Do they speak Americanized Yiddish in Scotland?) Feeling as if someone has just left is a classic way of describing a nebbish.

: : : : Ms Berg:
: : : : This non-presence, "presence of absence," or: usurpation of somebody else's presence, it gives me the chills. Tell me, does nebbish or nebech originate from the occult? (Jewish mysticism?)
: : : : Thanks
: : : : Anders

: : : My source, Leo Rosten's "The Joys of Yiddish," says the word originates from the Czech "neboky." I haven't found any connection with the occult. The line about leaving the room is simply a joke based on exaggeration: a nebbish is such a nobody that his presence seems to subtract something from a gathering.

: : Okay, so it's a nobody. As you can see, I had thought it was a vacuum of evil. Actually, I posted the Buffy thread by association. I wonder if there's a name for what I'm thinking of . . . Vampire is a bit trivial and over the top. Yes, I got it! (Having used Merriam-Webster's online thesaurus) I suggest vimpire! From 'vim' meaning energy and enthusiasm, '-pire' being self-explanatory. How do you like it?
: : Anders
: : Thanks for the suggestions. I particularly like "nebbish" which is spot on and another one which I had forgotten. I'm pretty certain though that the word(s) I seek are native to Scotland.

: I thought VIM was a bath cleaner. Alan

If this thread hasn't grown whiskers I'm still looking but have another near miss with the Scots "nyaff" a very irritating wee person. Alan