Compounding Joyce

LOW on demand! This afternoon the Twitter threw up this query, following on from my last post on cutthroat compounds [Catchall for Cutthroats]:


Well, here at The Life of Words, we aim to please. Since I’ve been mucking around with Python scripts to get at OED’s combinational formations (those bits typically at the end of entries that list affixal and attributive combinations), it was relatively easy to get together a list of instances where Joyce is listed as the first to have combined words in these particular ways, so far as OED2 (1989) was able to tell.

Caveat: the list doesn’t include any terms that are headwords in OED (such as riverrun – I think suggested to Burchfield along with others by Richard Ellmann in a letter). Just combos. Which of these are cutthroats would take a little longer than I have this afternoon (not a lot at first glance, if any), but I was able to get lists for Eliot and Pound, too, for comparison:

T. S. Eliot (54):

batflight, blue-nailed, bride-sheets, dreamcrossed, dream-imagery, dream kingdom, earth-colour, extra-academic, fever chart, leopard spots, life-forcers, loam feet, mass-made, mass-society, moment-to, non-christian, non-theatrical, nursery bedroom, ocean liners, oceanless, overinterpret, poker game, pre-philosophical, pre-renaissance, proudnecked, pullaways, puss-purr, race reports, railway cat, rain land, recognition scene, salmon paste, sandsmokes, sandwich papers, sea-girls, self-demolition, self-immolating, semi-ethical, six-seaters, smokefall, sound-value, spear-tips, stable-theatre, sword-rusting, timekept, time-ridden, ultra-intellectual, unaffrayed, unflowering, unenlightenment, vision-literature, water fruits, wood-retreat.

Ezra Pound (62):

double zero, firm-faced, ice-flakes, knife-sharp, legend-lust, lion-coloured, man-filled, many-fingered, many-twined, mass graves, mist-wrought, mud-slings, neo-nietzschean, nerve-wracked, night-wonder, over-inflated, over-oiled, premalthusian, press-bosses, pug-bitch, rag ends, rain-blur, rainditch, rain-tears, rain-cold, re-beams, red-gilded, rhyme scheme, ribbon-clerk, ring-having, river-bridge, river-marsh, rowing sticks, salt-bright, salt-wavy, sand-stretch, sea-surge, sea-fellow, seven-towered, six-holed, smooth-oiled, spear-print, spirit tower, spur-clinks, squirrel-headedness, stone-cliffs, stone-bright, suet-headed, sun-film, sun-driven, sun-fed, sun-gold, swan-flight, swollen-eyed, sword-hate, tree-shadowing, uncounterfeitable, under-emphasis, wheat-wine, white-stockinged, wind-streak, wing-flapping.

James Joyce (249):

antimilitarism, central eclipse, cork-lino, flat hunting, hypereducated, magneto-electro, nose-dropping, self-explaining, servant-wife, sous-prefecture, suitlength, trainfare,  arch tempter, basketcar, bedpal, bedthanes, bedlock, bellstrap, bellows pockets, bluntfeatured, bookpocket, claw legs, cocklepickers, counterflap, cycleshop, cycletrack, eyeslits, fineboned, firm featured, flap ears, flatcut, fleshcase, fleshhotpots, freefly, gatelodge, greatgranduncle, greencapped, gumchewed, heartbalm, heelclacking, holyeyed, horny browed, housejacket, inkshining, kitefaced, lampglow, leatherjacketed, lemon platt, letterwords, man smell, mantamer, mantailored, market net, meatfaced, medical hall, middle leg, moondew, multigeminal, multisecular, muskperfumed, navelcords, newsboards, niggerlips, nigger mouth, nighttown, nonperishable, noonreek, nosejam, nutquesting, oakpale, oceangreen, oceansong, oceanflowing, omnipollent, onehandled, orangekeyed, organtoned, paint-speckled, physioscope, pierstakes, pigsticky, pillow talk, pipespills, playfight, plum-stained, police chargesheets, popcorked, porterbottle, posticipated, postconditional, postcreation, poxfiend, pox-fouled, presaw, precombustible, presstable, primrosevested, psychophysicotherapeutics, pursepocket, pussy fourcorners, raindew, rainspouts, rainvapour, rainfragrant, rainladen, raincaped, rawskinned, refeatures, reremembered, reriddled, redbordered holland, red-flowered, redlabelled, redrimmed, redpanting, resintipped, rib-steak, riceslop, ricepowdered, rockvine, roguewords, roofpanes, rubbishtip, ryebloom, ryehigh, sabletrimmed, sack-shouldered, salad leaves, salmongaffs, salteaten, sandknolls, sandstrewer, sans blague, saucestained, sausagepink, scarftie, schoolpoem, schoolurchin, schoolyears, scumspittle, seadeath, seadusk, seasmiling, seafed, self-submersive, selfabbreviating, selfcompelled, self-tinted, self-nodding, semi-solidified, semistatic, sexsmelling, shameclosing, shamewounded, shiftstraps, shybrightly, sicksweet, side-eye, singlepane, skirt duty, slipperslappers, smokepalled, snuff-stains, sodachapped, sourfavoured, sowcunt, speechstuff, spiderveil, spoonseat, staffholsters, stewgravy, stonebearded, strainveined, stubblecovered, stubblegrown, studfee, studenting, subsubstantiality, subsolid, suetfaced, sugar-bin, sullen-faced, sun-compelled, superquality, supersumptuous, supraracial, supra-burgher, swanmeat, swatheturner, swinefat, taildangler, tape measurements, tea-bathed, tea-brown, tea-slop, teartap, terrorcausing, themebooks, thermo-pairs, thicklugged, thickplotting, timedulled, tiptouch, townhithe, tramtrack, treeforks, trembling eel, trickleaps, trundle wheel, truthcompelling, tuckstitched, turf-barge, turf-coloured, two-columned, unconsortable, unoccupyable, uncobbled, undeathliness, unbloused, underslip, upstiffed, upwardcurving, warmgloved, warmseated, wave gestures, wavenoise, wavewhite, websoft, wheatbellied, wheyhued, wheypale, wheysour, whiteyellow, whiteflattened, whiteheaped, whitearsed, whitegaitered, whitepolled, whitesmocked, whoremistress, windraw, wishcard, witchroasting, wolfeyes, wonderwide, wormfingers, wristbangles, yellowslobbered, yewfronds.

Note: there’s a small possiblity that one or two of these may be from the small number of other Joyces and J. Joyces quoted in OED – these would take too long to filter out for today.

 [UPDATE: I’ve now uploaded a tab-delimited spreadsheet of the Joyce combinations, with full bibliographic details, which you may download here.]


  • A comment stream from Twitter:

  • Got to add these to the list:

    alphabet books, bar-stool, cuffedge, laneway, lankylooking, motor run, myriadislanded, orangefiery, pannier pockets, perfumesprayed, pubhunting, quasisimultaneous, ringweight, roomkeepers, rosefrail, rustblack, sandwichbell, shaggychested,shitbreeches,sports programme, stem-glass, tidysized, triangle-player.

    They don’t follow the normal OED convention and so got missed. A couple are questionable – bar-stool, e.g.

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