Men at Arms and the origin of the word 'Politican'

From Terry Pratchett’s Men At Arms:

Earlier in the book, Carrot had made a big deal about the fact that policeman comes from the world ‘polis’, i.e., a policeman is a ‘man of the city.’
What is the point Vetinari trying to make? That a politican is an ‘ian’ of the city?
Ponder Stibbons, I bet you have some idea…


  1. Of, relating to, or resembling: Bostonian.
  2. One relating to, belonging to, or resembling: academician.

I think he is saying that a politician is also a “man of the city” ; thus the Patrician and the watch have the same interests and goals.

Poli - a multitude of

Tics - blood sucking parasites

And they often speak in an auditorium:

Audi - I hear

torium - the bull

Well, that’s what I thought he meant. I think I was hung up on the idea of ‘ian’ meaning related to or resembling. I have a hard time imagining Vetinari would describe *himself * as resembling Ankh-Morpork.

**Little Nemo, LurkMeister: ** As the Patrician would say: Ah, a pun or play on words. How…droll.

I think Vetenari would just…look at them, silently, until they felt the urgent need to be elsewhere. After they were gone, he would permit himself a small chuckle of appreciation for their wit.

From the Online Etymological Dictionary,

“L.”, of course, means “Latatian.”

And “Gk.”, means Genua/Klatchian ?

Funny, I just finished this the other day and had been wondering the same thing.

I think it was Pratchett (not necessarily Vetinari) going for the poli (city) + tic (blood sucking) + ian (resembling/related to) joke.

I’m not sure I agree with that. When Pratchett makes a pun, you *know * it. :stuck_out_tongue:

As I look at it again, maybe Vetinari’s trying to say he *belongs * to the city?


I always thought he was making the point that politics was as much a part of the city as the police, a fact that Carrot’s predecessor never appreciated. Vimes deep down always believed that politicians and nobles were people who should be hanged for their own good and for the good of the city. Vetinari has always been on the practical side of things, constantly needling Vimes about his more idealistic worldview, and knows for a fact that dirty politicians are probably more a part of human nature than cops.

I’ve never read any Pratchett and have no idea who the Patrician is. I stole my joke from Dave Barry.

The Patrician is not really the bloodsucking leech type. No, he’s the odd sort of man who, like Ankh-Morpok, is as cynical as they come, but he does love his city, and despite themselves, the people who live there. He’s actually yet another variant on Pratchett’s essentiall hero: a flawed and cynical or humorously credulous character that nevertheless is more or less a decent person.

I’m so very, very sorry. Living with a disability like that must be extremely difficult. I wonder if it qualifies you for handicapped parking? :smiley:

And I was just going to burn the heretic. :smiley:

I would think that coming within inches of tearing out his throat and then giving him a good, hard talking-to would be more in character for Angua.

Carrot, of course, would just organize a midnight Klatchian street hockey game and let him learn the Error of His Ways Through Sportsmanship.

Well, quite. But almost tearing throats out requires so much self-restraint. pouts