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Sunday, 12 January 2020

Sunday Rest: tantivy. Word Not To Use Today.

Now tantivy is a really dangerous word.

It means at full speed. The trouble with it is that it's traditionally used by huntsmen, especially those hunting foxes on horseback.

File:Fox Hunting - Henry Alken.png
Illustration by Henry Thomas Alken

This activity is now (rather controversially) illegal in Britain. People can still pretend to hunt, but they aren't allowed to pester any animals: instead they set the hounds to follow a synthetic scent, which provides a more reliable, and much safer, source of entertainment.

People still mourn the old ways, though, so perhaps the anticipation and danger were important.

(The foxes are now shot.)

Anyway, as far as I know tantivy may still be shouted when galloping after a scent-trail, but yelling it in any other setting is likely to get you scragged by any vegans or animal activists that might be lurking about the place.

They can be quite an aggressive bunch, the animal activists.

But still, if you feel a great need to shout tantivy at least you'll know they won't eat you.

Word Not To Use Today: tantivy. This word is probably an imitation of the rhythm of a galloping horse.


  1. I once travelled round Jersey on a coach from the company "Tantivy". I always wondered where the name came from and now I know. Thank you Sally!

    1. You're very welcome indeed, puppetwomanoftavira. Lovely to hear from you. The name of your coach company is still rather a puzzle, actually, as there are no foxes on Jersey. No badgers,'s a very tidy sort of a place, isn't it!


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