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POPPYSMIC/pɒˈpɪzmɪk/Help with IPA

Produced with smacking of the lips.

You won’t see this in your local newspaper any day soon. It comes from the Latin poppysma, via the defunct French popisme. Romans used the original for a kind of lip-smacking, clucking noise that signified satisfaction and approval, especially during lovemaking. In French, it referred to the tongue-clicking tsk-tsk sound that riders use to encourage their mounts. The only writer in English known to have used our word was James Joyce, in a stage direction in Ulysses: “FLORRY WHISPERS TO HER. WHISPERING LOVEWORDS MURMUR, LIPLAPPING LOUDLY, POPPYSMIC PLOPSLOP.”

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Page created 13 Aug. 2005
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