Hamlet is fat

AAllan at AOL.COM AAllan at AOL.COM
Thu Jun 24 13:39:46 UTC 1999

Letter from Prof. Hideo Hirooka of Kansai U., Osaka, Japan:

"Queen: He's fat and scant of breath," - Hamlet V.ii.298.
It has been generally accepted that the *fat* in the passage means "sweaty."

This came from a story in Times Literary Supplement, May 26, 1927, told by
Prof. W.H. Dunn, College of Wooster, Ohio:
A woman drove to Wisconsin with her friends and dropped in a house to get
water for their thirst. Then a housewife came out and said, "How fat you all
are!" To the driver's question, she explained that "fat" means "sweaty."

A similar story is found in the New Temple Shakespeare, p. 175.

But we cannot find "fat"=sweaty not only in OED, but also in DARE.

I hope this Fat may remain somewhere in America. I shall be very grateful if
you kindly give me an information.

- Prof. Hirooka does not give an e-mail address; but if someone can provide a
good answer, I'll send him a hard copy.
Thanks - Allan Metcalf

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