My recent “Hope in dark times” post elicited the following Facebook query: Is there an official fear of hi-hat cymbals phobia?
If there weren’t, it stuck me that I had a friend who might be uniquely qualified to coin such an expression. Dr. Anthony Alcock is not only a fine classical scholar, linguist, Egyptologist, jazz & blues guitarist and trumpeter and man about town (not this one), he’s capable of spinning five neologisms from the classical Greek before breakfast. His advice:
You might try this, from I Corinthians 31,1:
Cymbalon alalazon (which may turn out to be gobbledygook in the transmission) — ‘a tinkling cymbal’, from which it is possible to make a word ‘cymbalalalazophobia ‘, along the lines of ‘supercalifragilisticexpialodocious’, which would be an apt description of the theology of St Paul.
I’m not competent to comment on Tony’s theological acumen, though I’m predisposed to believe he’s right in this matter of St. Paul. (Wait. The Inquisition is defunct, is it not?) But the new word is just what we needed. It even has a pleasingly musical quality to it, and nearly demands percussion accompaniment. As long as that doesn’t involve hi-hats, of course.
So we get to see the English language evolving right before our startled eyes. And now that it has been defined, many more among us will discover in ourselves this horror of hi-hats.
More on the passage in I Corinthians. (Further testament to Tony’s genius: this account suggests onomatopoeic connotations in cymbalon alalazon of approaching armies clad as for battle.)