pamphlet, pam...phlet

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nycera

New Member
Italia (Italiano)
Hello.
Does anybody know the etymology of the word "pamphlet"?

There is a conversation in which a lawyer explains how to act correctly in court during a trial to his uncultured and rude client.

lawyer - It's all here in this pamphlet.
client - God, don't you have anything shorter?
lawyer - There is nothing shorter.
client - That's why it's called a pam... phlet.

It's supposed to be an ironic situation, but i really can't understend how the word "pam...phlet" could be related to shortness.
Please help me.
:confused:
 
  • helendeformsa

    Senior Member
    ROC, Taiwanese
    Hello.
    lawyer - It's all here in this pamphlet.
    client - God, don't you have anything shorter?
    lawyer - There is nothing shorter.
    client - That's why it's called a pam (pain/pan=all, everything)... phlet(fleet).

    It's supposed to be an ironic situation, but i really can't understend how the word "pam...phlet" could be related to shortness.
    Please help me.
    :confused:
    That is my wild guess.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    That is my wild guess.
    Please do not make wild guesses, before checking dictionaries and other sources that will
    provide real information.


    "small, unbound treatise," 1387, from Anglo-Latin panfletus, popular short form of "Pamphilus, seu de Amore" ("Pamphilus, or about Love"), a short L. love poem of 12c., popular and widely copied in Middle Ages; the name from Gk. pamphilos "loved by all," from pan- "all" + philos "loving, dear." Meaning "brief work dealing with questions of current interest" is late 16c.
    source: Online etymology dictionary
     

    helendeformsa

    Senior Member
    ROC, Taiwanese
    That is my wild guess.
    I was just trying to be polite and humble when I said, "That is my wild guess." Maybe, people from different cultures have different ways of interpretations.
    Indeed, when the uneducated and rude client said, "That's why it's called a pam (pain/pan=all, everything)... phlet(fleet)." I can sense that for us a short pamphlet is like all painful warships, submarines, etc of a country for him. And that's the keypoint of irony or humor.
    Isn't there any reasoning involved in this inference? Does this look like a pure wild guess?
     

    jess oh seven

    Senior Member
    UK/US English
    I was just trying to be polite and humble when I said, "That is my wild guess." Maybe, people from different cultures have different ways of interpretations.
    Indeed, when the uneducated and rude client said, "That's why it's called a pam (pain/pan=all, everything)... phlet(fleet)." I can sense that for us a short pamphlet is like all painful warships, submarines, etc of a country for him. And that's the keypoint of irony or humor.
    Isn't there any reasoning involved in this inference? Does this look like a pure wild guess?
    Fair enough that you deduced that, any ideas are welcome here.

    I just don't think the viewer/audience (whomever) would ever deduce that from the joke since there's not a close enough connection to the original words/syllables and the possible implied meanings you have given, and they wouldn't spring to mind. What does "everything fleet" mean?
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Helendeformsa,

    The client is neither uneducated nor rude. He or she was making a small joke based on the ending of the word
    pamplet. Words ending in ette or let in English are often diminutives, implying small size or insignificance.

    Guesses may be helpful, but only after consulting readily available sources that may provide good information.
    Yes, yours looks like a 'pure wild guess'.

    At the top center of this page is Dictionary Look up:

    If you were to type 'pamphlet' there, you would see--

    pamphlet

    a brief treatise on a subject of interest; published in the form of a booklet



    2 booklet, brochure, folder, leaflet, pamphlet

    a small book usually having a paper cover
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I was just trying to be polite and humble when I said, "That is my wild guess." Maybe, people from different cultures have different ways of interpretations.
    Indeed, when the uneducated and rude client said, "That's why it's called a pam (pain/pan=all, everything)... phlet(fleet)." I can sense that for us a short pamphlet is like all painful warships, submarines, etc of a country for him. And that's the keypoint of irony or humor.
    Isn't there any reasoning involved in this inference? Does this look like a pure wild guess?
    Humor is a tricky thing. In order to make "pamphlet" into "pan-fleet", the person speaking would have to have a very strong foreign accent in English. That's not unusual in humor, so it's reasonable to allow for that.

    It would be humorous if "pan-fleet" were a recognizable phrase in English, but it isn't. Plays on words are very much a part of humor in English, but that type of humor relies on instant recognition of the "tortured" word or phrase. Also, the phrase should have something to do with being short. A fleet of warships doesn't relate to "short" in any way. The person who said, "That's why it's called a pam - phlet" saw a reason that the word was synonymous with "short".
     

    helendeformsa

    Senior Member
    ROC, Taiwanese
    Fair enough that you deduced that, any ideas are welcome here.

    I just don't think the viewer/audience (whomever) would ever deduce that from the joke since there's not a close enough connection to the original words/syllables and the possible implied meanings you have given, and they wouldn't spring to mind. What does "everything fleet" mean?
    Thanks for giving me this chance to clear it up.

    Pan- is a prefix, which means all and everything.
    -phlete sounds like fleet.

    From these two hints, I deduce the irony or humour (from what the uneducated client said) whatever you may call it. Does this make any sense at all?
     

    xrayspex

    Senior Member
    USA English (southern)
    "That's why it's called a pam (pain/pan=all, everything)... phlet(fleet)." I can sense that for us a short pamphlet is like all painful warships, submarines, etc of a country for him. And that's the keypoint of irony or humor.


    "phlet" in this case is pronounced "flet", short "e", as in "pet" or "bet".

    "-let", "-lette", etc are often used at the ends of words to denote "small". "Piglet", a small pig. (Borrowed from French? I don't know French but I think so.)

    The "joke" here is that if the document was large, it would be a "pamph", but since it is a "pamph-let", it is a small pamph.

    Not very funny, really, even to a native speaker.

    ps: (sorry to repeat what cuchuflete said. it takes me a long time to post because the web site makes me re-log-in ever 45 seconds or so for some reason.)
     

    helendeformsa

    Senior Member
    ROC, Taiwanese
    The "joke" here is that if the document was large, it would be a "pamph", but since it is a "pamph-let", it is a small pamph. Not very funny, really, even to a native speaker.
    Thanks, I really got the hang of the joke. Thanks.

    But, wait...I just took a glance at the base sentence. It's not "Pamph...let" but "pam...phlet." No wonder I had my own unique interpetation.
     
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