Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Buttle it.

And as a follow-on from the previous post, I have a pet peeve when people refer to Jeeves -- surely now an iconic figure from fiction -- as a butler. Jeeves was a valet, a gentleman's gentleman, which is quite different.

Does it matter? Well, would you call Mary Poppins a cook? Or Hagrid a chauffeur?


  1. I found you from Kathleen Taylor's link. Your account of the missing calculator reminded me of a year in which my brother lost 2 wallets. The first time he searched by himself then cancelled his credit cards, etc. and moved on, but the second time decided to ask his kids if they knew of its whereabouts. Surprisingly, his son retrieved from the toy box the first one which had been AWOL for months.
    Cheers, Nancy

  2. All right, yes, I looked it up. Butler comes (a very long time ago) from 'bouteillier,' the household servant in charge of the wines and liquors. Origin 1250-1300, according to dictionary.com.

  3. Yup. Both "buttle" and "butle" are in dictionaries as humorous back-formations, but buttle seems more prevalent. Terry Pratchett has used it, so that's good enough for me.