Few characters in the history of television have been defined by their linguistic prowess the way Moira Rose has.
Schitt’s Creek’s eloquent leading lady has always had a flair for the dramatic, especially when it comes to her choice of bizarre, archaic phraseology. Catherine O’Hara has managed to curate a truly winsome vernacular for daytime’s brightest star, a mesmerizing combination of antiquated jargon spoken in an ambiguous accent that keeps fans on the edge of their seat, wondering which syllable might wrongly be stressed next, which decades-old slang will be dusted off and weaponized for our enjoyment. The wigs, the outfits, the constant melodramatic pleas for a good coma, they all come second to Moira’s expressive tongue. She’s a syntactical sorceress, a loquacious illusionist, a pharisaic thaumaturge enthralling us with her defiance of basic grammarian law. And now, we worship at her altar by defining her most-affecting diction.
Here’s a guide to the Moira Rose terminology on Schitt’s Creek.
Balatron (From Latin balātrō)
: Jester or buffoon
“How mercurial is life… We all imagine being carried from the ashes by the goddess Artemis and here I get a balatron from Barnum & Bailey.”
After Moira nearly suffocates from smoke inhalation when she’s trapped in the motel closet, Roland comes to her rescue. The possibility of dying in a run-down motel is almost as abhorrent to the former daytime TV star as the idea of Roland being her savior.
: A baby
“She has no idea the toll a bebe can take on its mother, or its mother’s mother.”
Depending on whose it is, a bebe can either be a financial and psychological burden, or a miracle that simply doesn’t make a reservation.
Bedeviled \ bi-ˈde-vəl \
: To torment or harass
“I am very booked up, David. I am positively bedeviled by meetings, etc.”
When your husband calls on the family to pull together to hide a corpse, the best course of action is to claim you’re too busy with meetings, etcetera. If you truly want to sell it, throw in an “I hate to leave you like this” on your way out.
Blouson \ ˈblau̇-ˌsän \
: A garment (such as a dress) having a close waistband with blousing of material over it
Chrysalis \ ˈkri-sə-ləs \
: A hardened, protective covering
“Stevie, underneath the brambly tartan blouson, is a chrysalis, just bursting with potential.”
When your production of Cabaret has yet to find its female lead, you’ll do anything, even encourage the spunky local girl who looks vaguely like a homeless mortician, to audition for the role.
Bolus \ ˈbō-ləs \
: A pill or drug
“This is what my life has come to, David. Killing a man. Over a complimentary bolus.”
Greed is a fickle, even deadly thing, as Moira learns when she denies a man use of her pill stash and wakes up to find him dead.
Callipygian \ ˌka-lə-ˈpi-j(ē-)ən \
: Shapely buttocks
“I should have appreciated those firm, round mammae and callipygian ass while I had them.”
Despite an inventive string of keyword searches — effervescence, small umbrella, and Siamese eels — David is unable to dig up a single nude photo of his mother on the internet, leading her to regret how little she cherished her youth when she had it. We’ve all been there.
Chanteuse \ shan-ˈtüz \
: A woman who is an accomplished nightclub singer
“At first I wondered aloud why would a competitive vocal group not reach out to a trained chanteuse?”
When you reach the level of stardom that Moira Rose has, you have to anticipate the unintended effects of your blindingly brilliant talent. If a small group of gals in your heavenly hamlet hasn’t reached out to request your melodic services, don’t take it personally. Small minds rarely reach for the stars.
Churlish \ ˈchər-lish \
: Lacking civility or graciousness
“Well, how very churlish of them!”
Moira Rose, like many of us, was shocked to discover that the barn fundraiser for the doctors who uncleft the mouths would not be attended by its board of trustees and threw out this classy insult in response.
Confabulate \ kən-ˈfa-byə-ˌlāt \
: To hold an informal discussion
“Oh, Ronnie, Ronnie, might you and I confabulate for a moment in the back room?”
The next time you accidentally open an envelope on your desk, suspecting it’s simply a photo of a ghost only to discover it’s the sonogram of your co-worker’s baby and that you’re now sworn to secrecy regarding the child’s sex, choose someone more sympathetic than a small business owner with a love for cargo pants as the person to which you wish to unload your emotional cargo.
Dangersome \ -jə(r)səm \
“Jocelyn, that sounds dangersome.”
As a mother who’s sent her children to the most expensive boarding schools and hired the best nannies, Moira Rose knows when someone’s parenting decisions — like cold-calling a pet sitter and convincing her to look after your newborn so you can attend Jazzagal rehearsals — are questionable.
: A slacker
“Aw say, don’t be a dew-dropper. Throw some concealer under those peepers, make like a swell and go put on the Ritz.”
Moira tries to drum up excitement for Twyla’s murder mystery party by invoking some 1920s slang but honestly, this works for any occasion when one must socially shame their friends into a night out on the town.
Encumber \ in-ˈkəm-bər \
: To weigh down or burden
“The last time I felt this emotionally encumbered, I was playing Lady Macbeth on a Crystal Skies cruise ship during Shakespeare at Sea Week!”
When Moira learns that a motel guest who asked her to lend him a painkiller has died in his sleep, she wrestles with her hand in his untimely passing. The stress of hoarding sample packets of a basic headache medication becomes too much to bear alone and offloads her psychological cargo on David.
Epistle \ i-ˈpi-səl \
: A formal or elegant letter
Inamorata \ i-ˌna-mə-ˈrä-tə \
: A woman with whom one is in love or has intimate relations
“Easier said than done, John, when your only husband is longing for his epistle-writing inamorata.”
Two Bosnian uppers and lack of sleep because your plane was grounded in Nairobi after flying through a swarm of locusts can cause anyone to mistake their penmanship and accuse their husband of pining for a former lover.
Habilimented \ həˈbiləˌmentə̇d \
“I promise to keep my husband habilimented from now on.”
When your husband is caught skinny dipping in the local creek by an off-duty police officer with a militant commitment to protecting the town from nudists, you’ll say anything to avoid jail time.
: The owner of a small, unpretentious winery, one that pampers its fruit like its own babies
Also acceptable: Herb Erfling ger. Burt Herngeif. Irv Herb-blinger. Bing Livehaanger. Liveling. Burt Herkurn. Ban- Bingo Ling-fucker! Because let’s face it, you won’t remember the name.
Irksome \ ˈərk-səm \
: Annoying or tedious
“Why must you be so constantly irksome?”
Normally, this turn of phrase is reserved for expressing Moira’s ire for daughter Alexis’ eccentric behavior. When David is irritating her, she simply calls him a “disgruntled pelican.” The two can be interchanged freely.
Juvenescence \ ˌjü-və-ˈne-sᵊn(t)s \
: The state of being youthful
“The last traces of my juvenescence vanished into thin air.”
The inability to unearth one’s nudes from the dark annals of the internet would cause anyone, even Moira Rose, to pine for their youth.
Mise en scène \ mēz ˌän ˈsen \
: The setting or surroundings
“Today was more about discussing theme, and tone, and mise en scène.”
It’s what you tell yourself when your son’s former lover, a big-city photographer who looks like a handsome homeless person, begins taking candids of you in the field despite your insistence that you’re wearing your “talk now, shoot later” look.
Oxidize \ ˈäk-sə-ˌdīz \
: To dehydrogenate especially by the action of oxygen
“Perhaps it’s this nay-saying reticence that caused your past relationships to… oxidize.”
Moira Rose is not one to mince words, which is why when David shows a concerning reluctance to invite Patrick to the family barbeque — something he lovingly describes as a group of carnies eating charred meat — his mother reminds him that embracing joy is really the only way to avoid yet another heartbreak.
Pablum \ ˈpa-bləm \
: Bland, intellectual sustenance
“I won’t be pitied, John! Or fed your pacifying pablum like some kind of soft-headed infant!”
Just because a theater in Pasadena has stripped your name from the marquee doesn’t mean you should accept the pity gift of a town garden from your husband — no matter how much you’d like to contribute to the population growth of your community by way of teen pregnancies.
Peccadillos \ ˌpe-kə-ˈdi-(ˌ)lō \
: A slight offense
“Yes, we all do. Peccadillos, cloying habits.”
When Roland moves in next door following a fight with Jocelyn, Moira and Johnny are forced to confront the flaws they find with each other. Johnny throws tantrums and is a tad condescending at times. Moira? She drinks too much tea.
Pettifogging \ ˈpe-tē-ˌfȯ-giŋ \
: Arguing over trivial things
“Alexis, now is not the time for pettifogging!”
The next time your daughter wishes to accuse you of idea theft, brush off her dramatic outburst with this syllabic gem.
Prestidigitator \ ˌpre-stə-ˈdi-jə-ˌtā-tər \
: A sleight of hand artist
The fact that my own world was ripped out from under me by someone like this prick of a prestidigitator?
When Moira’s summoned for jury duty, her ties to the case run deep, something she can’t hide when asked about her ability to remain impartial during the case. You’d think her experience with scumbag lawyers would’ve helped the court in its quest for justice.
Sephardic \ sə-ˈfär-dik \
: Jewish or of Jewish descent
“Oh, you’ve completed the diaper substitution. Aren’t you a Sephardic Mr. Clean?”
Moira regularly calls attention to Johnny’s heritage, but her sectarian nicknaming reaches new heights when he’s domesticated beyond recognition thanks to the Schitt’s bebe.
: An extreme scarcity of males
“Darling, I realize the pickings are slim in this rural spanandry, but you can’t ask Council to misuse public funds just so you can find yourself a new boy toy.”
Just wipe through Bumpkin like the rest of us lonely singles, Alexis.
Spittoon \ spi-ˈtün \
: A receptacle for spit
“You could have used the spittoon! That’s what the other children did.”
When your ungrateful child suggests the mommy-daughter trip you planned to Bordeaux was inappropriate because she was just seven years old at the time, you might be forced to remind her that all the other kids on the wine tasting tour were more than happy to use a spit receptacle.
Squire \ ˈskwī(-ə)r \
Peregrination \ ˌper-ə-grə-ˈnā-shən \
: A long and meandering journey
“Sadly, I won’t be able to squire you for today’s wedding venue peregrination.”
As Moira is suffering through one of her closet tantrums, she informs David and Patrick that she’ll be unable to attend their wedding venue walk-through, but she does it in the most elegant way possible for a woman on multiple prescription pills.
Bombilate \ˈbɒmbɪˌleɪt \
“After a glut of unasinous ideas put forth today, the room is suddenly bombilating with anticipation; can you feel that?”
The perfect way to hype up your prospective proposal for a splendacious 300-acre art park? Shame every other citizen-volunteered idea through the use of highbrow verbiage.