Post Eagle Newspaper


Feb 27, 2024

45°F, few clouds
New Jersey

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The word today is CLOY, TO CLOY, CLOYED from the Latin verb CLAVARE which means TO NAIL. 

Today the word means to oversweeten, to gag. When you eat so much chocolate that you cannot eat another piece, your taste is cloyed. When you consume so many meatballs that one more would make you gag, you are cloyed. If you cannot take another effete compliment and some sycophant hurls one after the other to gain your favor, you point your finger down your throat to indicate that you are about to gag. This is cloying.

In ancient Rome crucifixion was common punishment for slaves and enemies, and during the persecutions of Christians. When Emperor Nero celebrated the building of his colossal statue at the future site of the Coliseum he held a banquet at his palatial home. The guests had to walk from the Coliseum area to the palace in the dark. Nero decided to light up the path by dipping hundreds of Christians in pitch, crucifying them, and then igniting them in the evening, using them as torches to light up the night. However, many of his Roman guests complained that the stench of burning flesh had cloyed their taste.

Crucifixion: The victim was tied to the cross and had no footrest. Sometimes it took 2 or 3 days for the victim to die. He died from exhaustion and asphyxiation. His chest would collapse and he could not breathe because his body would continue to slump in a downward fashion while his arms would still be bound to the cross bar. A Roman soldier, out of mercy, would take a large nail or spike, climb up a ladder, and hammer the spike into the crucified man’s throat, underneath the Adams apple. The blood would fill up in the throat and the victim would choke. He would gag. He died sooner in this fashion instead of languishing for days.

Hence, we have today’s meaning of CLOY.