Definition: Baunausic can be used to refer to something that is mechanical, vulgar, without artistic merit.
Origin: Banausic derives from the ancient Greek word ‘banausos’, referring to anything that was, essentially, ‘made in a forge’ – something artisanal and mechanical. In essence, it refers to something that is utilitarian or something that produces utilitarian things. It entered the English language in the mid-19th century. It is thought, however, that what we now understand as the definition of banausic was how the Elizabethans defined the word ‘mechanical’.
Why This Word:
Banausic, rather ironically, has an interesting history. In ancient Greece, the need for a word such as this arose with the evolution of the Hoplite class. Suddenly, there was a class of people who did mechanical, utilitarian jobs to produce mechanical, utilitarian things. They referred to themselves by the term ‘Banausos’. Thus, although it was originally a meaning that they used for themselves (or, at least, it is believed that this happened), it was then later used by non-banausic classes to ridicule those that were, well, banausic. It is an unusual case of a descriptive word that originated by the group themselves that evolved into an insult used by others to describe the original group.
How to use this word:
Today, banausic can be used to describe anything that one feels is uninspiring or utilitarian. Not everyone will know what you are referring to – but used as part of a tirade against vulgar banality that includes other words such as ‘bland’, ‘monotonous’, ‘pedestrian’ and ‘plodding’, it will be readily understood by your fellow food and art critics ….