The etymology of the word ‘choes’ is a long, winding and delicate thing, like a surgically-extended penis in an outpatient ward. Many scholars work under the assumption that the ultimate origin of the word is the French word ‘chose,’ meaning ‘thing’. This is understood to have been bastardised by an unruly vagabond in 1790, leading to the swapping of the last two letters (a phenomenon known to linguists as a ‘Rinkidink Reward’) and giving it a slightly different meaning.
Other scholars believe ‘choes’ is a portmanteau word combining ‘shoes’ and ‘chou-fleur’, which is the French word for ‘white brocolli.’ These scholars have no friends and sit at a table by themselves in the liguistic lunch room and the other scholars laugh at them and throw things and ask them if they know the etymology of the word ‘stupid loser prick with no friends’.
Other rarely-used collective nouns:
- A Yentob of BBC Directors-General
- A Blargeld of former members of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
- A Sixswab of runcible spoons
- A Swelling of typography blogs
- An Eggbirth of mispronounced African cities
- A Floot of X-Files trading cards
- A Sembotantara of things made of wishes
- A Gout of Republican presidential nominees
The word “Barschguild” is named after Sir Ronald Begley-Barsch, who in 1831 had a special house built out of completely non-flammable materials. The interior of the house nothing whatsoever that could be set on fire; all writing implements, for example, were made out of candied fruit, while the chairs were entirely made of water.
Sir Ronald used the building for meetings for like-minded people who detested being on fire. His own experience with human combustion came when a hot air balloon landed on his head and set his moustache ablaze. This incident traumatised him so much that he created his Barschguild, which - at its peak - had as many as 65 members.
Sadly, the original Barschguild ended in tragedy, when a hot air balloon landed on the building, causing it to collapse, crushing everyone inside. Witnesses at the time said the chances of anyone surviving the event were “slim to argh”.
“Shimatsunitao” literally translates as ”the Way of the Death Festival” (Shi = death; matsu = festival; tao = way).
The word seems to come from an ancient proverb in which a koi carp outwits a cormorant by speaking in riddles and pretending to be a Dutchman. The moral of the story, once the heron has gone insane and pecked the unlucky fish to death, is that not checking oneself has the propensity to lead one to wreck oneself.
A variation of the word appears in an early haiku by Bashō:
Heta desu yo / watashi no tamago / Shimatsu yo - The temple monks / Flare their nostils and square up to each other like a pair of angry large-testicled tanukis / They better check themselves before they wreck themselves