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"Beclown":

This word seems to have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity recently, usually as a contemptuous statement that someone has "beclowned himself." It is indeed a long-attested word, rather than a newly coined word or a nonce word. From the OED entry on the prefix "be-":

5. Forming trans. verbs on adjectives and substantives, taken as complements of the predicate, meaning To make: as BEFOUL, to make foul, orig. to surround or affect with foulness; ... BESOT, to turn into a sot. In modern use, nearly all tinged with ridicule or contempt ....

b. With n.: bebaron, to make into a baron; bebishop, beclown ...

1609 ROWLANDS Crew Gossips 24 O wretch, O Lob, who would be thus *beclown'd?

Everything old is new again.

Volvodriver (mail):
prefix? [EV: D'oh! Changed the original "suffix" to "prefix," thanks for pointing out the error.]
2.21.2007 12:28pm
Francis (mail):
EV, behave.
2.21.2007 1:05pm
DR:
Where'd you hear it recently?

[troll] By the way, it's not in the official dictionary. [/troll]
2.21.2007 1:12pm
JohnAnnArbor (www):
I really, really hate clowns.

I had an orthodontist who decorated his office with clown pictures.

The horror....
2.21.2007 1:17pm
Gary McGath (www):
Beclown, beclown,
All the world loves clown...

(Except JohnAnnArbor, I guess.)
2.21.2007 1:22pm
Bored Lawyer:
With n.: bebaron, to make into a baron; bebishop, beclown

Course, sometimes it might have the opposite meaning.

As in: Behead.

Implies more subtraction than addition.
2.21.2007 1:23pm
anonVCfan:
Surprisingly (to me, at least), there's no record on Westlaw of Bruce Selya or anyone else having fit this word into a judicial opinion.
2.21.2007 1:29pm
Hoosier:
Can one 'beassclown' himself? Now that's a word that I'd find useful. Nearly every day.
2.21.2007 3:18pm
AK (mail):
New or old, I'm already cringe at this word in anticipation of its several-month cycle of use, overuse, and subsequent return to obscurity.

lol internet!
2.21.2007 3:26pm
Maniakes (mail):
So what you're saying is that beclown is a perfectly cromulent word?
2.21.2007 3:31pm
Centrist:
And then there's "declownment":

Two clowns were shot and killed by an unidentified gunman during their performance at a traveling circus in the eastern Colombian town of Cucuta, police said Wednesday.

The gunman burst into the Circo del Sol de Cali on Monday night and shot the clowns in front of an audience of 20 to 50 people, local police chief Jose Humberto Henao told Reuters.


2.21.2007 3:54pm
Houston Lawyer:
declownestrated?
2.21.2007 3:59pm
Steve in SFO (mail):
Course, sometimes it might have the opposite meaning.

As in: Behead.

Implies more subtraction than addition.


Actually, beheading turns you into a head (by removing the parts below the neck), just as beclowning turns you into a clown.
2.21.2007 4:18pm
Hoosier:
Steve, Houston-- Nice work--I got a good laugh from your clever comments.

But what, pray tell, would "declownestration" mean? And does it happen only in Prague?
2.21.2007 4:51pm
Hoosier:
By the way-- Following up on the original post, can one be "beknighted" as well as "benighted"? Or does the negative implication of the latter prevent the former from being employed in polite conversation?
2.21.2007 4:54pm
Shelby (mail):
Hoosier, re "beknighted":

A reasonable inquiry, except that the word for "make into a knight" is "knight".
2.21.2007 5:04pm
Houston Lawyer:
Hoosier, What other word could imply throwing the clown out of the window? :)
2.21.2007 5:09pm
Doug Sundseth (mail):
"Hoosier, What other word could imply throwing the clown out of the window?"

Well, it's not one word, but how about, "due process"?

ps. No clowns were harmed in the process of creating this response. Mimes either, more's the pity.
2.21.2007 5:21pm
KeithK (mail):
Beclown, beclown,
All the world loves clown...

"To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kind of scary. I've wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my dad."
Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy (SNL)
2.21.2007 6:04pm
James Dillon (mail):

Course, sometimes it might have the opposite meaning.

As in: Behead.

Implies more subtraction than addition.

That depends on one's perspective, doesn't it? Does the beheadee lose a head (thereby becoming a headless torso), or lose a body (thereby becoming a head)? If the latter, then the prefix seems to have the same meaning as in the other examples-- the object of the verb is made into a head.
2.21.2007 6:21pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Possibly what triggered this was Glenn Reynolds' response today in the Rocky Mountain News to Paul Campos' attack on him yesterday in the same paper. It starts out like this:
Paul Campos has beclowned himself. He did it in the usual way, by arguing loudly about things he does not understand.
2.21.2007 8:28pm
Stacy (mail) (www):
Logically, 'declownestration' would imply, not throwing a clown out of a window, but throwing something out of a clown. I'm not sure I want to take that thought any further though...
2.21.2007 9:48pm
Lev:
Shirley!
Shirley, Shirley bo Birley Bonana fanna fo Firley
Fee fy mo Mirley, Shirley!

Lincoln!
Lincoln, Lincoln bo Bincoln Bonana fanna fo Fincoln
Fee fy mo Mincoln, Lincoln!

Come on everybody!
I say now let's play a game
I betcha I can make a rhyme out of anybody's name
The first letter of the name, I treat it like it wasn't there
But a B or an F or an M will appear
And then I say bo add a B then I say the name and Bonana fanna and a
fo
And then I say the name again with an F very plain
and a fee fy and a mo
And then I say the name again with an M this time
and there isn't any name that I can't rhyme

Arnold!
Arnold, Arnold bo Barnold Bonana fanna fo Farnold
Fee fy mo Marnold Arnold!

But if the first two letters are ever the same,
I drop them both and say the name like
Bob, Bob drop the B's Bo ob
For Fred, Fred drop the F's Fo red
For Mary, Mary drop the M's Mo ary
That's the only rule that is contrary.

Okay? Now say Bo: Bo
Now Tony with a B: Bony
Then Bonana fanna fo: bonana fanna fo
Then you say the name again with an F very plain: Fony
Then a fee fy and a mo: fee fy mo
Then you say the name again with an M this time: Mony
And there isn't any name that you can't rhyme

Every body do Tony!
Pretty good, let's do Billy!
Very good, let's do Marsha!
A little trick with Nick!
The name game
2.21.2007 11:53pm
RGT:
Steve in SFO:

"Actually, beheading turns you into a head (by removing the parts below the neck), just as beclowning turns you into a clown."

Didn't Marcotte describe herself at one point as 'bec*nted'?? I wonder how she did that?

RGT
2.22.2007 12:30pm