Weekly Word: Pasquinade

This might make me sound like a dork (or a nerd), but I associate this word with the cartoon series “Hey Arnold!”, where I heard it for the first time in an episode about a spelling bee. I never bothered to look it up until now.

A pasquinade is “a satire or lampoon, especially one that ridicules a specific person, traditionally written and posted in a public place.” You can also use the word as a verb, meaning “to ridicule with a pasquinade”.

The ancient Roman statue Pasquino

Wikipedia’s entry on Pasquinade explains the word’s interesting origin:

Pasquin (Italian Pasquino) was the name ordinary Romans gave to a battered ancient statue.... [I]t became the custom for those who wanted to criticize the Pope or individuals in his government [...] to write satirical poems [...] and attach them to this statue.

Pasquinade is a pretty cool word, but it’s rarely used. In fact, it doesn’t appear even once on Google News. I find that hard to believe, considering there must be more people to make fun of now than ever before! And isn’t the internet basically just one huge Pasquino statue?