We pledge to keep these pages current!
BombLink2008- Brings an entirely new server.....We hope to the work of re-linking things as soon as possible but it is a lot of work! So please check back from time to time....Thank you for your patience!

Will the real Guy please stand up!

Or perhaps it was CECIL Guy or Guido: that is the question.What about the contemporary word "guy"? Was Guy baptised Guido or Guy, or is Guido just a translation? Was he given that name because of uglyness? Perhaps someone will go to York and check baptismal records (see Cast Of Characters


1. A guide rope: OFF gui or guie, a guide, from OF-MF guier, to guide, from Frankish uitan, witan, to indicate a direction: cf E guide, q.v. at vide, para 10. 2.a ragged, ludicrous- even grotesque- effigy of Guy Fawkes of the Gunpowder Plot: F Guy, var Gui: LL Uitus (ML Vitus), as in -St. Vitus's dance-, rendering F -danse de Saint-Guy- (cf the E var St. Guy's dance): the child martyr Vitus was invoked by epileptics, said to have danced before his image. 
Eric Partridge, Origins, Macmillan, New York,1959
From the Word of the Day 11/1/00
James I of England, a Protestant, was a very unpopular king who managed to anger both the
          Protestants and the Catholics. The Catholics were especially incensed because James had
          been exiling Jesuits from England. A group of Catholics, among them a man named Guy
          Fawkes (also known as Guido when he enlisted in the Spanish Army and served in the
          Netherlands), came up with a scheme, known as the Gunpowder Plot, to blow up the king
          along with Parliament on November 5, 1605. They hoped that, in the ensuing chaos, they
          could put a Catholic king on the throne. However, someone tipped off King James. Although
          not the leader of the plot, the unfortunate Guy was found in the basement of the House of
          Lords in the company of 36 barrels of gunpowder. He was arrested, signed a confession
          implicating others, and was hanged for treason along with six of his co-conspirators in
          January 1606. That same year, November 5 became a national holiday. 

          Guy Fawkes Day is still celebrated with fireworks and bonfires. Children parade through the
          streets carrying effigies called guys and asking passersby for "a penny for the guy." The
          guys, which are dressed in rags, are burned on the bonfires on the night of November 5th.
          The effigies were not always those of Guy Fawkes; in the early days, figures of other
          unpopular people, especially the pope, were also paraded through the streets and burned on
          the bonfires. 

          So, guy originally referred to an effigy of Guy Fawkes or some other detested person. Trollope
          wrote in The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867): "What are you doing there, dressed up in that
          way like a guy?" Because the guys were dressed in old, ill-matched clothes, the word also
          came to mean 'a person of grotesque appearance or dress': "The gentlemen are all 'rigged
          Tropical' -- grisly Guys some of them turn out" (Julia Charlotte Maitland, Letters from Madras
          during the Years 1836-39 by a Lady). The word had a pejorative sense through much of the
          19th century: "I wouldn't speak to you in the street for fear of disgracing you; I am such a
          poor little guy to be addressing a gentleman like you" (C. Reade, Hard Cash, 1863). A guy was
          a person who was an object of ridicule. 

          The word guy crossed the Atlantic late in the 19th century and, in American usage, came to
          mean simply 'a fellow' or 'a man': "You're the guy that had the fight in that saloon" (Ade,
          Chicago Stories, 1894). The main guy is no longer in common use, but around the turn of the
          century, it meant, according to Maitland's Slang Dictionary of 1891, 'the chief or leader of any
          organization'. Various writers have lamented the ubiquitousness of guy in American speech:
          "Guy ... must be one of the most frequently used words in America. It it a lazy man's word,
          reducing all adult males to simulacra among whom there is no need to make a distinction"
          (Evans & Evans, Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage, 1957). 

          By the 1940s, guy was being used to refer to a person of either sex: "She's a good guy. I'm
          glad she's on my side" says a character in the 1950 film Lonely Place. It is commonly used to
          refer to a mixed group, but "a guy thing" still means 'male'. 

          Guy has had a few other meanings over the years. In 19th-century America, it referred to a
          circus or carnival patron and also to a person who acted as a dupe in a confidence game.
          Although guy meaning 'a prank' is no longer common, guy can be a verb meaning either 'to
          ridicule' -- "Say, he'll be guyed about this for years to come" (Stephen Crane, Complete
          Stories,1898) or 'to hoax' -- "King Arthur ... had begun to suspect that he was being guyed"
          (T. Berger, Arthur Rex, 1978). 

          The guy in "guy wire," by the way, has nothing to do with "guy" it comes from Old French
          guier 'to guide'. 

Any etymologists in the house? Are we to take the application of the term Guy to Mr. Fawkes as an insult or as a title of leadership? You tell us! Mail us!



Flame Explore Our Pages Flame
Home New  Story Terrorism Celebrations Change
Clothes Food Language Music Map Motoring
Destruction Writings Reviews Center Bibliography Feedback

Copyright © 1996 Center For Fawkesian Pursuits