May 15, 2018

Chow mien.

Bokeh the Chow
"Bokeh the Chow" — cc Luigi Anton Borromeo.

Until that last post, in the entire 14+ years of this blog, I'd never used the word "mien." I'd quoted somebody else using it, and I only used it just now because I'd quoted somebody who'd written "his whole mien charged with sex" and repeating the word seemed funny to me.

But I had to look it up, because I wanted to be sure that the word properly applied to the whole body and not just to the face. It does. It means "The look, bearing, manner, or conduct of a person, as showing character, mood, etc." (OED).

But there was a second entry for "mien": "Chinese noodles made with flour." Oldest example published in English:
1890 Cent. Mag. Nov. 15 The food of this people is mien or vermicelli, and cakes of wheat flour called mo-kui or mo-mo, varying only in size and thickness, but never in their sodden indigestibility.
Well, that's mien mean! That entry also says: "Cf. chow mein n." Notice the "ie" gets reversed in the name of the familiar restaurant dish. I guess that's why I'd never thought of "Chow mien," but I love the mien of the Chow called Bokeh.

24 comments:

tcrosse said...

Althouse regresses to the mien.

John Lynch said...

That's a mien thing to say.

surfed said...

Approaching palidromnation in meaning if not spelling.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Mien girls!

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

Chow chow is Chinese slang for anything edible, and for more years that it is delicate to contemplate, chows were considered edible. Legends say that two of the breed's most distinguishing characteristics -- its blue-black tongue and its straight hind legs -- evolved as a consequence of the Chinese taste for this breed. The blue-black tongue, the bluer the better, bespeaks a sweeter meat; and a straight hind leg yields more meat."

robother said...

That chow is no twink, a lumbering oaf sticking his tongue out at the world. A lion's mien.

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

"Bokeh" = the appearance of out-of-focus portions of a photograph.

The Cracker Emcee Rampant said...

Just don’t wear the dress.

Freeman Hunt said...

Beautiful dog. Can't stand the temperament of that breed though.

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

Pet dog raised by Chinese family for two years turns out to be a black bear

EDH said...

I've heard of a coat on your tongue, but that looks like a black leather jacket.

surfed said...

I'm looking at my favorite Chinese delivery restaurant to see if Chow-Chow Mein is on the menu. Can't find ut but the old urban myth of cat being served comes to mind.

Big Mike said...

Chows and polar bears have something in common that no other mammal has. Anyone besides me know what it is?

AZ Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

Confucius says “Never eat at a Chinese restaurant that is right next door to an animal hospital.”

John Lynch said...

In the same mien, don't eat Korean food if you can't read the menu.

Karen said...

At university, I had to memorize the perfect Alexander Pope couplet, complete with “mien”.

Vice is a monster of such frightful mien, that to be hated, needs but to be seen,
But seen too oft, familiar of face, we first endure, then pity, then embrace.

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

Big Mike said...
Chows and polar bears have something in common that no other mammal has.


A few other animals have the same tongue color, so I'll guess it's that their names appeared in your sentence.

Big Mike said...

@Caldwell, are you sure? I had a Ph.D. biologist tell me that, among mammals, only polar bears and chows have black tongues. (Lots of snakes and lizards have black tongues, for instance.)

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

Big Mike said...
@Caldwell, are you sure?


Shar-Pei (but not all of them).

Giraffe.

Anthony said...

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.


No, I haven't read The Raven about 400 times or anything. . .

(Does that make me a Twink? A dark, brooding Twink? I'm 56, work out, and I'm buff, even with a base weight of 135!)

Big Mike said...

@Caldwell, seeing is believing (though I did look up giraffes to make sure you picture wasn’t photoshopped). I wonder if the guy can get a partial refund on his degree.

Art in LA said...

In Cantonese, "chow" means fry, "mein" means noodles, so "chow mein" is fried noodles. "Chow fan" is fried rice. During the California gold rush days, "chow" became part of American slang, meaning food. At the time, the Chinese guys who came over to mine gold (here in "Gold Mountain"/USA) ended up being cooks and laundrymen since they were not allowed to dig for gold ...

Ken B said...

Quoting Pope?

“True Wit is Nature to advantage dress'd
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd”


― Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism