Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Entry: factota (n.)

In context: "Orin was still just only lobbing, Schtitt observed, illustrating with the pointer and a multiple-replayed fourth down, but now with the leg instead, the only punting, and now with ten armored and testosterone-flushed factota to deal with what ever return an opponent could muster..."

Definition: Can't find it, but I did spot one quotation where the word was linked to factotum (a favorite of mine), though I'm not entirely sure it makes sense.

factotum (n.): †a. In Latin phrases: Dominus factotum, used for ‘one who controls everything’, a ruler with uncontrolled power; Johannes factotum, a Jack of all trades, a would-be universal genius. Also fig.

†b. One who meddles with everything, a busybody.

c. In mod. sense: A man of all-work; also, a servant who has the entire management of his master's affairs. 

Other: Factotum is also the name of a work by Charles Bukowski and quite a nice movie, too.  One of my favorite scenes is there, though I'll keep the exact details a surprise.  Here's the trailer.

SNOOT score: 1

Page: 293
Source: Oxford English Dictionary   

1 comment:

  1. Latin singular words ending in 'um' are pluralized by changing 'um' to 'a'. Media is the plural of medium, bacteria is the plural of bacterium, factota is the plural of factotum.

    In context, DFW uses it to mean "lackeys", "hangers-on", "members of one's 'crew'".

    (Potentially useful tidbit: Latin singular words ending in 'us' are pluralized by changing 'us' to 'i'... alumnus/alumni, cactus/cacti, calculus/calculi.)