Waxing wroth

Posted by Bob on February 20, 2007

In Reply to: Waxing wroth posted by Smokey Stover on February 20, 2007

: : : : Is there such a phrase as "waxing roth" --- meaning, I think, to be very upset or mad?

: : : : I recall that phrase was included in a Marx Brothers movie, the one where Groucho is president of a university. He's in his office and in comes his secretary; the secretary reminds him that an important visitor has been waiting very long to see Groucho and that the latter has kept the visitor waiting.

: : : : The secretary says, "(the visitor) is so upset at being kept waiting -- he's waxing roth." Groucho, as only he could do, quips, "Well tell him to wax someone else!"

: : : You were close. It's spelled wroth.

: : For your further enlightenment: "Waxing" means "becoming" or "growing," as in "a waxing moon," one that (apparently) gets bigger. "Wroth" is an archaic word for "wrathful." ~rb

: In "Horse Festhers" Groucho is president of Huxley College. Is that the one you had in mind, Bob?
: SS

Horse Feathers it is. IMDB.com comes through as usual:

Wagstaff's Receptionist: Oh, Professor, the Dean of Science wants to know how soon you can see him. He says he's tired of cooling his heels out here.
Professor Wagstaff: Tell him I'm cooling a couple of heels in here.
[receptionist leaves and re-enters fifteen seconds later]
Wagstaff's Receptionist: The Dean is furious! He's waxing wroth!
Professor Wagstaff: Is Roth out there, too? Tell Roth to wax the Dean for awhile.
[nudges one professor]
Professor Wagstaff: Guess that's bad, huh?