Sunday, October 11, 2009

Runcible spoon

Just to contribute to the conjecture on the nature of the runcible spoon, I had a few thoughts. It seems to me that Edward Lear may well have loved the sibilant quality of the word, since his poetry was really meant to be spoken as well as read. Primarily spoken in my view! The hissing quality that runcible and spoon and pussy bring, has that vocalization one can hear from a cat in distress. Certainly the owl and the pussy cat would require a special tool to eat both mince and quince at the same sitting. If you have tackled a quince you will know they are as hard as rocks unless mercilessly cooked, so a sharp serrated edged spoon coupled with a three pronged fork tip of a broad nature, might be just the ticket to carve the quince into fragments, spear them, and chew. Lear does not address the nature of the quince, cooked or ripe! The spoon like quality would, at the same time, contain the mince so it did not fall through the cracks. The wide spread use of runcible of course was not confined by Lear to the spoon. I can only think the word produced the sounds which pleased him. What do I know? Etymology is not my bag! Phonation also, not my bag! I have never allowed lack of knowledge of the facts however, from giving my opinion on a variety of subjects.


  1. James,

    Some speculation here

    but no more certain than your own. The chimney at the Church of the Advent in Montreal, leaning to one side and missing bricks, was once described by an architect (an Englishman) as being 'runcible' but I think he was just having us on. The two French Canadians who were with us at the time took note, however, although I don't remember whether the inspection notes (in French) mentioned that "La cheminee se trouve dans un etat tout a fait "runcible" (pronounced runc-eebl)


  2. Just the post I needed to sustain me in my insomnia night.
    Thought that would now be called a 'spork' ?
    What a large french pea has to do with it, as the OED tells me, rouncival from the French, is not clear to me.
    But then,Lear wasn't often clear,was he?