Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Meme hosted by Bermuda Onion.
This week's words are brought to you by



Image found here.
In vain may we put them into a literary alembic;--we distil nothing which can add to science.  (47)


alembic (noun)
1. An apparatus consisting of two vessels connected by a tube, formerly used for distilling liquids.
2. A device that purifies or alters by a process comparable to distillation.
Definition found here.

What can I say?  I majored in English education so my science knowledge is limited.  But this quote is one of those that just makes me chuckle.  Is it rational to turn to literature for scientific knowledge?  There are exceptions, of course.  If a character is in a particular scientific field, like medicine or laboratory research, one might distill something but does that distillation add to science?  Not really.  Even a novel that is psychologically provocative or relevant, the fictional narrative doesn't add to science.  However, there's no arguing that a novel can inspire research which then leads to some new discovery.  A sort of correlative interpretation but without the research there is no adding to the already established body of wisdom.  We may use literature to inspire questioning but it is not until we seek the answers that science is enhanced .  I could say more but I've probably blabbered on enough.
Image found here.
Our approbation of the latter is but eleemosynary.  (48)
eleemosynary (adj) 
of, relating to, or supported by charity


Would you believe me if I told you the only reason I am sharing this word is because I wanted an excuse to use this image?

Okay.  That's not true.  I had to look up eleemosynary.  It's a great word and I adore the implication of the quote in which I found it.  I doubt I'll use it any time soon.  Unless of course, I buy myself this shirt because then people would probably ask me to explain it.  Or maybe not.  Oh, now I'm tempted to buy one and wear it to see if anyone has the courage to question its meaning.

The Ancaster Assizes
Image found here.
And then,--there is the family of the poor man who was hung last assizes at York, though we really have raised the sum we wanted for putting them all out, yet if you can get a guinea from her on their behalf, it may as well be done.  (70-71)
assizes (noun)

a. One of the periodic court sessions formerly held in each of the counties of England and Wales for the trial of civil or criminal cases.
b. The time or place of such sessions.
Definition found here.

There really isn't much I can say here except that I learned about the Bloody Assizes.  I'd never really heard of this historic event before.  My fascination with British history pretty much begins with pre-Roman occupation and ends with the death of Elizabeth I.  Apparently, this particular frenzy spread as far as Canada, however, as the image suggests.  I definitely know more about English history than I do about Canadian history.  I won't live long enough to fill in all of the gaps in my knowledge I would aspire to fill.
Image found here
where you will find
another nagus recipe as well.
. . . gladly assisting the landlady in her bar to make fresh negus for the happy dancers above. ( 101)
negus (noun)

a drink made of wine, most commonly port, mixed with hot water, spiced and sugared
Definition found here.


Obviously, reading the definition one immediately thinks "mulled wine."  At least that's what I did.  So I looked up recipes for "negus" to see if there is a significant difference and . . . nope.  I've shared a link and recipe below if you want to make your own.  It uses 4 bottles of wine. I love that the recipe explains that it is "serves a crowd."  Really?  And here I thought four bottles of wine was a lovely evening home alone.  (I jest.  I haven't had a drop of alcohol since the new year.  Not even a glass of wine or shot or anything. No particular reason.  Just something I decided to do last year.)

Image found here.
Nothing sets off a neat ankle more than a half-boot; nankin galoshed with black looks very well. (12)
nankin (noun)

a sturdy yellow or buff cotton cloth
Definition found here.

I've said before that I enjoy looking up words from Austen's novels because I end up learning the names of many different types of fabric.  I only wish that the explanation could give me a real sense of the texture.  A picture may be worth a thousand words but a sensual touch speaks encyclopedic volumes.  Not that this will stop me from opening a dictionary, apparently.  Which brings me to a confession.

I use a dictionary.  Not online ones but physical, turn the page, use the thumb tabs type of dictionaries.  Specifically, I use the American Heritage College Dictionary which my son won in a spelling bee.  I liked it so much, I bought myself a copy.  The one I have is a fourth edition so it probably doesn't have the more recent additions to the lexicon.  Apparently the updated version includes an app for your smart phone (not mine, seeing as how I don't have a smart phone).  Anyway, if you're in need of a dictionary with a focus on American usage and spelling, I highly recommend this one.

Image found here.
Kitty . . . gave Nanny orders to send in some powder & pomatum, which orders Nanny chose to execute in person.  (444)
pomatum (noun)

a perfumed unguent or composition, chiefly used in dressing the hair; pomade
Definition found here.

No surprise that pomatum would have something to do with cosmetics.  The surprise comes when one reads more about how it was made.  For instance, one for the face includes wax and almonds while another for the hair uses black snakeroot and rum.  Sometimes, when I look up a word for this weekly meme, I feel like a kid in a candy store because I start looking things up and one thing leads to another and then another.  You know that saying "her eyes were dancing"?  I literally feel my eyes dancing as I take in all this new information.  

The following recipe, and others, can be found here.


Mulled Wine or Negus
serves a crowd

Negus is another name for mulled wine, which traditionally was prepared by adding some cinnamon/cloves/nutmeg/fruit peel/whatever to a mug of wine, and then heating it by stirring with a hot poker from the fire.

Make a syrup by boiling for 5 minutes:  
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water
4 dozen whole cloves
6 sticks cinnamon
3 crushed nutmegs
Peel of 3 lemons, 2 oranges

Strain syrup. Add to it:  4 cups hot lemon or lime juice

Heat well and add:         4 bottles red wine

Serve very hot with slices of:     Lemon and pineapple

These proportions may be varied to taste. Sometimes Madeira, port or sherry is used in this formula.





24 comments:

  1. Wonderful words and recipe ! Thanks.

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    1. Thank you, Annie.

      I shall tell my son about your blog.

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  2. Hi Satia! Great job!! I did not know ANY of these words :) It is amazing that you found that Tshirt photo! I also think that the recipe looks good. Thanks for sharing these.

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    1. The moment I saw the t-shirt, I knew I wouldn't have to look any further for the perfect image.

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  3. Great words, I like the word nankin.

    http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2012/04/wondrous-words-wednesday_11.html

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    1. I like it too. I was completely surprised by what it means. I mean, I knew it was a type of fabric but I think I supposed it was something lighter in texture and darker in color but it seems to be a sturdier cloth than I'd imagined.

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  4. I was looking at the recipe for negus and saw 4 whole cloves and thought, ooh that's a lot. And then I saw 4 bottles of wine. It's amazing how words fall out of disuse and are replaced by new ones. One day they will be studying texting as a language and vocabulary will be doomed for generations to come.

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    1. If I ever thought the idea of living forever had any appeal, that perception is gone forever.

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  5. Oooh, I love eleemosynary and that tshirt!

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    1. Me too! I'm so glad I didn't overlook the word while reading. I'm convinced I unintentionally overlook a word, understanding it in context and not bothering to look them up. I might have missed this incredible t-shirt if I'd overlooked this word.

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  6. The t-shirt pic is fantastic. Great find! I especially love your description of your process for this meme and how happy it makes you and your dancing eyes.

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    1. Sometimes there isn't much "process" to share but, when I can, I try to personalize these things. I figure I never know when someone might find something I share interesting enough to want to know more. Who knows? Someday a meme may lead to a question which will result in another post altogether. :)

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  7. I love reading people's t-shirts but I hardly ever find a new word on one. The mulled wine sounds delicious. I may give that a try but cut it way back for a small crowd.

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    1. Mulled wine is lovely when it is cold. And depending on your crowd, halfing the recipe might be a good idea. I have a friend who can pretty much drink a bottle and then some by herself. :(

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  8. I love that you found words in so many different places! They're all are new to me.

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    1. I think that's the first time all of my words have been new to you. Now I'm really excited.

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  9. Well-done! Wonderful words and pictures and even a recipe for negus! You should get that T-shirt; then you can tell people about this terrific meme!

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    1. That's a great idea. I don't do a lot of memes on my blog but I enjoy this one so much that, whenever my week allows me to take the time, I enjoy creating a post for it.

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  10. Some of these would be hard to spell as well.

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    1. Tea, I actually double checked my spelling more than once because my spell-check kept telling me I was doing it wrong. So I had to laugh when I read your comment. If only you knew how many times I double, triple, quadruple checked.

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  11. Its kinda sad that I knew what an alembic was...mainly because I am an avid gamer who played games like The Elder Scrolls and because I was once a D&D nerd...sighs

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    1. Having played D&D, I am going to say that the blame must lie with the former because I don't remember alembic from the latter. (And are we both really so old that we don't have an A before the D&D? Sheesh!)

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  12. What a great group of words- and YAY I knew some. I knew nankin, because I'd looked up nankeen kestrel, one of our birds of prey is named after the pants. I do like negus. That can be a surname of course. I wonder if it's the same derivation? I love that you included a recipe! I came across pomatum recently. Eleemoysnary is possibly one of the most extraordinary words I've seen in some time.

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    1. I know negus is also a royal title in Ethiopia. And now I'm off to look up nankeen kestrel.

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