Word Hoard

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ahn. Sale. Byatt

girning, noisome, gorse, afrit

So I'm reading Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye, a collection of five tales (fairy and otherwise) by A.S. Byatt. She has some well placed words. Here are a few I've noticed so far.

Afrit: variant of afreet, a powerful jinnee in Arabian stories and Muslim mythology.

Girning [Chiefly Scot. & north. Also gurn] metath. alt. of grin: 1 Show the teeth in rage, pain, disappointment, etc.; snarl LME 2 Show the teeth in laughing; grin M16 3 Whine, complain; be fretful or peevish E18 4 Distort the features; pull a hideous face L18

Gorse [Old English gors, gorst, from Indo-European base meaning 'rough, prickly', repr. in Latin hordeum barley, rel. to Old High German gersta (German Gerste) barley.]: Any of several spiny yellow-flowered leguminous shrubs of the genus Ulex, characteristic of heathy places. Also called furze, whin.

Noisome [from noy (aphet. of annoy, Latin in odio est it is hateful to me) + some]: 1 Harmful, noxious LME2 Disagreeable, unpleasant, offensive; evil-smelling. LME 3 Annoying, troublesome. rare M16-M17.

In other news, I went to a Squirrel Nut Zippers concert in Des Moines at the Hoyt Sherman Place. As many historical buildings and societies are wont, they have a plaque on the wall with names of donors grouped according to the amount of donation. It has been my experience that the PR/Fundraising department tries to have the levels of donation relate to the organization. I didn't notice, or pay attention to the lower levels, but the top donation level was Proscenium. If I'd seen this word before, I still didn't know what it meant.

Proscenium: 1 a CLASSICAL ANTIQUITIES. The performance area between the background and the orchestra of a theatre; the stage. E17 b The part of the stage of a modern theatre between the curtain or drop-scene and the auditorium, often including the curtain itself and the enclosing arch

I guess stage would have been too simp


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pleased to Meat You.

I'm sorry that it has been over two months since I posted something new here.

The other day I got three different word-a-day emails that mentioned meat. Fricassee, Gallimaufry, and Offal.

Fricassee probably comes from French for to fry and to break up/shake.

Gallimaufry now means hodge-podge or jumble, but the French is a ragout or sauce. I like Bartleby.com's allusion to a wide open merry mouth. Forget comfort food; they're making happy food. Gallimaufry, the original happy meal.

Offal isn't that glamorous, but that fits its purpose. It comes from "fall off." Who needs a fancy word like abattoir?

I'm going to try to post here more frequently, but we'll see.