Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Image from this site.
From Mansfield Park by Jane Austen 

I said to the boy directly—(a great lubberly fellow of ten years old you know, who ought to be ashamed of himself,) I’ll take the boards to your father, Dick. . . . (145) 

1. a big clumsy fellow
2. a clumsy seaman

I'd often heard this term--land lubber and even the use of the word lubberly--but never bothered to look it up because I assumed a land lubber was a lover of the land, one without sea legs and likely to fall while on a ship.  So I assumed "lubberly" meant a clumsy person but I looked it up and I was right.
Image from this site.

Also from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

. . . and she had fondly hoped for such an immediate éclaircissement as might save him the trouble of ever coming back.  (197)

A clearing up of something obscure: enlightenment

What I find so fascinating is now there is in my mind an association between chocolate éclairs and enlightenment.  Interestingly enough (or so it seems to me), the French éclair originally meant lightning.  Does it still mean lightning?  So I looked it up here.  Yes it does.  It’s first definition is “flash of lightning” followed by éclair de genie meaning flash of genius.  I confess,  I think the pastry chef who first produced an éclair was absolutely a genius and there have been times I have sought enlightenment in eating food.  I think I’ve fallen in love with this word.

Image from this site.
From The Waves by Virginia Woolf

. . . I shall never see savages in Tahiti spearing fish by the light of a blazing cresset, or a lion spring in the jungle, or a naked man eating raw flesh. (186)


an iron vessel or basket used for holding an illuminant (as oil) and mounted as a torch or suspended as a lantern

Interestingly enough, you can still buy yourself a cresset, if you would like do to so.  Simply follow the link in the caption and it will take you to a website where you can add one to your collection.

Rooftops of Geneva, Switzerland, seen from the top of cathedral Stock Photo - 3532294
Image from this site.
Also from The Waves by Virginia Woolf

The scrannel beauties of the roof-tops repel me.  (220)

harsh, unmelodious

I thought this was an interesting use of a word that would almost immediately call to mind sound rather than a visual effect but there is something to be said about how the rooftops of a building can create a sort of visual harmony.  When I was growing up, I though the skyline of Manhattan was wonderful until the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers were added.  Now, of course, all I see is their absence.  And I suppose this has nothing to do with the original quote nor the usage of scrannel but my mind wanders.

Image from this site.
Last but absolutely not least, from The Waves by Virginia Woolf

Then I scoff at the floridity and absurdity of some scrolloping tomb; and the trumpets and victories and the coats of arms and the certainty, so sonorously repeated, of resurrection, of eternal life.  (282)

Fanciful portmanteau formation by Virginia Woolf, prob. combining scroll n., lollop v., etc.

Now how could I resist sharing this word created by Virginia Woolf herself?  It’s a wonderful one, don’t you think?  Finding an image to complement it was merely a bit of fun for me—that is Catherine Parr’s resting place and since I’ve long been a bit of a Tudor freak it seemed fitting to use this image as an example of scrolloping.  

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