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Word of the Week

marplot, n. and adj.
[‘ A person who or (occas.) a thing which spoils a plot or hinders the success of any undertaking.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈmɑːplɒt/, U.S. /ˈmɑrˌplɑt/
Etymology: < mar- comb. form + plot n.
For a similar earlier formation as the name of a character in a play (see quot. 1709 at sense A.) compare the name of the eponymous protagonist of Sir Martin Mar-all, a play by Dryden and William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle (1668).
A. n. A person who or (occas.) a thing which spoils a plot or hinders the success of any undertaking.In early use allusively as a personification.
1709 S. Centlivre Busie Body Dram. Pers., Marplot.
1723 R. Steele (title) The censor censured; or, The conscious lovers examin’d: in a dialogue between Sir Dicky Marplot and Jack Freeman.
1765 J. Otis Vindic. Brit. Colonies 21 His employers on either side the atlantic should discard him as a meer Sir Martyn Marplot.
1795 H. Cowley Town before You v. 87 What Tippy! I’m a bit of a Marplot here… This comes of entrusting your friends by halves.
1824 CountessGranville Let. May (1894) I. 295 What a marplot anxiety is.
1876 ‘G. Eliot’ Daniel Deronda II. iv. xxxii. 321 But what is the use of my taking the vows and settling everything as it should be, if that marplot Hans comes and upsets it all?
1880 A. W. Kinglake Invasion of Crimea (ed. 4) VI. ix. 380 In future campaigns the lieges shall not be the marplots they were in the days of Lord Raglan.
1915 F. T. Woodington (title) Fate the marplot.
1940 Amer. Hist. Rev. 45 343 Colonel Nicholas was a meddler and a marplot with a genius for intrigue.
1978 Economist (Nexis) 25 Nov. 123 Following in the footsteps of such marplots, Marxists, Maoists or malignants as the Lords Robbins and Bridges.
1982 Time (Nexis) 27 Dec. 12 Donald Nickles of Oklahoma and Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire..teamed with veteran marplot Jesse Helms of North Carolina to filibuster the measure to death’s door.

†B. adj. (attrib.).
That spoils or defeats a plot or hinders an undertaking. Obs.1824 Lancet 10 Apr. 64/1 He casts a scowling glance upon the incorrigible mar-plot man.
1850 in A. W. Kinglake Invasion of Crimea (1877) VI. ix. 230 There were some of his fellow-countrymen..whose marplot disclosures seemed likely to bring down..a new onslaught of Russian masses.
1869 A. J. Evans Vashti xxviii. 392 Beyond the tender mercies of meddling, marplot fortune.

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