Quadrivial Quandary:  Logophiles, Rejoice!  Each day we give you four unusual words.  Can you fit them all in one illustrative sentence?

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The Quandary for today, Monday, November 19, 2018, consists of:
  • fiddlestick
  • borborygm
  • henchman
  • propugnaculum, n.
Challenge: use all four words together in one illustrative sentence.

Since September 2009, word lovers have offered 7126 sentences — each one a surprise — to QQ's unique and growing library. Explore earlier Quandaries through our word list or the calendar below. View yesterday's QQ resolutions or pick a day at random.

Definitions Of Today's Words:

noun: 1. The bow with which the fiddle is played. 2. Something insignificant. interjection: Nonsense.
  1. (medicine, physiology, rare) A gurgling or rumbling noise produced by gas in the bowels; a borborygmus.
  2. (figuratively) A gurgling or rumbling.
Today is designated by the United Nations as World Toilet Day to draw attention to inadequate sanitation facilities in countries around the world.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for November 19, 2018 is:

henchman • \HENCH-mun\  • noun

1 : a trusted follower : right-hand man

2 : a political follower whose support is chiefly for personal advantage

3 : a member of a gang


"The story follows the lives to two very different characters—Frank Guidry, a henchman for one of New Orleans’ most powerful and vicious gangsters, and Charlotte, a woman struggling to raise her two daughters while dealing with a feckless, drunken husband." — James D. Watts Jr., The Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 11 Oct. 2018

"Since Mr. Mugabe’s ouster, Mr. Mnangagwa has tried to remake Zimbabwe’s image by portraying the government as business-friendly. He has appeared often at investors’ conferences, wearing warm, colorful scarves to offset his fearsome reputation as Mr. Mugabe’s former henchman." — Norimitsu Onishi, The New York Times, 30 July 2018

Did you know?

The earliest known examples of today’s word in written English show it being used as a term for a squire or a page, but the word may have seen earlier use with the meaning "groom." It first appeared in Middle English in the 14th century and is a combination of Old English hengest ("a male horse") and man. In the mid-1700s, henchman began to be used for the personal attendant of a Scottish Highland chief. This sense, made familiar to many English readers by Sir Walter Scott, led to the word’s use in the broader sense of "right-hand man," which in turn evolved into the other meanings.

OED Word of the Day: propugnaculum, n. A bulwark, a rampart. Also fig.: something which affords defence or protection

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