Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Not Wavian but drowning

In my blog for 5 Sep 2008 I asked a question intended to be jokey and rhetorical:
Shavian ˈʃeɪviən, for the writer George Bernard Shaw, is more recent (OED: 1905). And Fitzrovia, for the area around Fitzroy Square near Euston, is a mere half-century old (OED: 1958).
(Do you think anyone would give Waugh an adjective Wavian? No? Neither do I.)

I spoke too soon. The word had already been coined and used. In a review of Alexander Waugh’s book Fathers and Sons: the autobiography of a family, Christopher Hitchins wrote
If students of George Bernard Shaw can be called Shavians, a friend of Evelyn Waugh’s named John Sutro argued, then those interested in all things Waugh might be called Wavians. I now realize that, without knowing it, I have been a Wavian for many years.

The review is dated June 3, 2007.
Another review, by Barbara Kay, dated June 13, 2007, bore the headline Parental neglect: the Wavian muse.
In November 2007 there was even a punning headline, Wavian goodbye.
Let me update my question. In years to come, when someone writes a biography of our Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, will his views and behaviour be called Stravian?
Or we might reverse the process and start calling birds aws. (Think about it.)


  1. Nabokovian and even Karamazovian are well established to judge from a quick google, and I learn that "in Tanglewood Porch, Eustace Bright is described in Fanshavian terms". Didn't see any Goughs being called Govian though.

  2. 246 Google hits for "wavian" "waugh", 36 for "stravian" "straw". (The quotation marks reduce autocorrected forms.)

  3. You've got a point, in a tasteless kind of way; you've just misspelt /ɔːz/.


  4. What about
    (More geography) Moldaugh, Tintin's Syldaugh? Belgraugh?
    Pope Octaugh?
    David H. Savaugh?
    The very bad Hossein Mousaugh?
    My father-in-lavian views and behaviour?
    Your left subclaugh?
    Re your hagiographical hobby: St Flaugh?
    OK, I'll stop misbehaugh

  5. Next up: Limericks!


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