Word Wednesday.



A discourse or declamation full of bitter condemnation: Tirade.

Origin: Middle French philippique, from Latin and Greek; Latin philippica, orationes philippicae, speeches of Cicero against Mark Antony, translation of Greek Philippikoi logoi, speeches of Demosthenes against Philip II of Macedon. Literally, speeches relating to Philip. (1592).

That was the kind of outburst Stefan had to put up with for five years as I worked on the Wharton bibliography, wading through file cards and fits. The explosion would usually be followed by an overly detailed explanation of what I was reading, then a philippic of one form or another. No wonder he was sick of everything Wharton.” – The Edith Wharton Murders, Lev Raphael.


  1. quotetheunquote says

    Great word! I have only come across it once before, when I was a pre-teen (naturally, with no idea what it meant!), in the title of a Simon & Garfunkel song:

    “….I know a man whose brains are small
    Couldn’t think of nothing at all,
    Not the same as you and me,
    (It doesn’t take poetry)
    He’s so unhip, that when you say ‘Dylan’
    He thinks you’re talkin’ about Dylan Thomas
    (Whoever he was)
    The man ain’t got no culture
    But it’s all right ma,
    Everybody loves to get stoned-a”

    A Desultory Philippic; or, How I was McNamara’d into Submission
    -P. Simon, ca 1968 (?)

    It’s sorta about the sixties. ;-)

  2. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    It’s OK “the”, that is almost the only place I’ve ever seen the word.
    (…fifty or more…)

  3. DonDueed says

    I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I’m blind,
    I been Ayn Randed,
    Nearly branded a communist ’cause I’m left-handed —
    That’s the hand to use! Well, nevermind.

    -- A Simple Desultory Philippic, etc. etc.

    (Yuuuge S&G fan here, so I must quibble with several parts of “the”‘s transliteration… well, nevermind.)

  4. quotetheunquote says


    …and well you might! I was doing it in a hurry and straight out of memory, which is (to put it mildly) rather fallible. (Haven’t listened to that LP in, what? Maybe 5, 6 years?)

    I think I got the ‘Dylan Thomas’ part right though, that’s my favourite couplet… perhaps I should have stuck with that.

    … well, nevermind

    I see what you did there. :-)

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