On Thu, Feb 20, 2003 at 03:08:37PM -0800, Philip Hart wrote: > > On Thu, 20 Feb 2003, Andrew Lias wrote: > > > >Queen Gertrude (final scence) says > > > > > > He's fat, and scant of breath. > > > > I do recall that, now that you mention it. I've always assumed that the > > word "fat" was being used in some archaic form that wasn't congruent to the > > modern usage. > > Subject to argument. I think "faint" has been suggested as an emendation > for "fat". It has, but a more plausible suggestion is that "fat" means "sweaty." Sweat was believed to result from the melting of fat (Tilley has a long bit on this, but I can't recall the exact citation now). My favorite bit in support of this (admittedly somewhat tenuous, except that the outre usage is just exactly like Shakespeare) position is the mention of a Wisconsin farm wife greeting a group of sweaty visitors with the remark, "How fat you all are!" in 1923. American regional English being a weird repository of various usages now archaic in Britain, and all. -- Pamela Dean Dyer-Bennet (pddb at demesne.com) "I will open my heart to a blank page and interview the witnesses." John M. Ford, "Shared World"