Posts tagged ‘vocabulary’

Wednesday Word of the Week: gallipot

Prizes are available for interesting sentences using the word ‘gallipot’.

gal·li·pot noun \ˈga-li-ˌpät\

Definition of GALLIPOT

1 : a small usually ceramic vessel

archaic : druggist

Origin of GALLIPOT

Middle English galy pott

First Known Use: 15th century

Source: Merriam-Webster.

‘To gather herbs,’ Drotte told him. ‘We are physicians’ gallipots.’

Source: The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe.

Wednesday Word of the Week: schiltron/sheltron

The Wikipedia article (link below) has more information on this military formation.

A sheltron (also sceld-trome, schiltrom or shiltron) is a compact body of troops forming a battle array, shield wall or phalanx.

The term sheltron is obsolete, but is most often associated with Scottish pike formations during the Wars of Scottish Independence in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

Etymology

The term dates from at least 1000 AD and derives from Old English roots expressing the idea of a “shield-troop”. Some researchers have also posited this etymological relation may show the schiltron is directly descended from the Anglo-Saxon shield wall, and still others give evidence “schiltron” is a name derived from a Viking circular formation (generally no less than a thousand fighters) in extremely close formation, intended to present an enemy’s cavalry charge with an “infinite” obstacle (that is, a perimeter horses refuse to breach). Matters are confused by the fact that the term in Middle English could clearly refer to a body of soldiers without reference to formation, including cavalry and archers. The first mention of the schiltron as a specific formation of spearmen appears to be at the Battle of Falkirk in 1297. There is, however, no reason to believe this is the first time such a formation was used and, indeed, may have had a long previous history in Scotland, as the Picts used to employ spears in block formation as the backbone of their armies.

Source: Wikipedia.

Never for one moment had he regretted marrying her, but she could break his defences the way he used to break the schiltrons.

Source: The Company by K J Parker.

Wednesday Word of the Week: crapulous

crap·u·lous
/ˈkræpyələs/

adjective
1. given to or characterized by gross excess in drinking or eating.
2. suffering from or due to such excess.

Origin:
1530–40; < Late Latin crāpulōsus. See crapulent, -ous

Related forms
crap·u·lous·ly, adverb
crap·u·lous·ness, noun

Source: Dictionary.com.

By the time Swelter’s monologue was dragging to its crapulous close, Mr Flay was pacing onwards, every step staking him another five feet from the reek and horror of the Great Kitchen.

Source: Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake.

Wednesday Word of the Week: cataplasm

cat·a·plasm
/ˈkætəˌplæzəm/

noun Medicine/Medical .
poultice.

Origin:
1555–65; < Latin cataplasma < Greek katáplasma. See cata-, -plasm

Source: Dictionary.com.

‘And that is arctium lappa; a good cataplasm of fresh roots cicatrizes skin eczemas.’

Source: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

See also cicatrise and cicatrix.

Wednesday Word of the Week: veronica

I had an appendectomy a few days ago, so there was no Monday Masterclass this week. But I can bring you another interesting lexeme today.

ve·ron·i·ca 1
/vəˈrɒnɪkə/

–noun ( sometimes initial capital letter ) Ecclesiastical .
1. the image of the face of Christ, said in legend to have been miraculously impressed on the handkerchief or veil that St. Veronica gave to Him to wipe His face on the way to Calvary.
2. the handkerchief or veil itself.
3. Also called sudarium. any handkerchief, veil, or cloth bearing a representation of the face of Christ.

Also called vernicle.

Origin:
1690–1700; < Medieval Latin veronica, alleged to be an alteration of vēra īconica true image ( see very, icon), subsequently also taken as the name of the woman who gave Christ the cloth

Source: Dictionary.com.

Consider our most real and tender pleasures – in the excitements of pain and mutilation; in sex as the perfect arena, like a culture-bed of sterile pus, for all the veronicas of our own perversions, in voyeurism and self-disgust, in our moral freedom to pursue our own psychopathologies as a game, and in our ever greater powers of abstraction.

Source: The Atrocity Exhibition by J G Ballard.

Wednesday Word of the Week: Tyrian/Tyrian purple

Tyr·i·an
/ˈtɪriən/

–adjective
1. of or pertaining to ancient Tyre or its people.
2. of the color of Tyrian purple.

Origin:
1505–15; < Latin Tyri ( us ) (< Greek Týrios, derivative of Týros Tyre) + -an

Tyrian purple

–noun
1. Also called Tyrian dye . a highly prized crimson or purple dye of classical antiquity, originally obtained at great expense from a certain shellfish: later shown to be an indigo derivative and synthetically produced, and now replaced by other synthetic dyes.
2. a vivid, purplish red.

Origin:
1575–85

Source: Dictionary.com.

A new mood was on her … no longer icily terrible as in the judgment-hall, no longer rich, and sombre, and splendid, like a Tyrian cloth, as in the dwellings of the dead.

Source: She by H Rider Haggard.

Wednesday Word of the Week: bertha

I used to have a cat called Bertha. She was great and I still miss her. It turns out that ‘bertha’ is also a word.

ber·tha /ˈbɜrθə/

–noun
a collar or trimming, as of lace, worn about the shoulders by women, as over a low-necked waist or dress.

Origin:
1835–45; named after Bertha (died a.d. 783), wife of Frankish king Pepin the Short; she was famed for her modesty

Ber·tha /ˈbɜrθə/

–noun
a female given name: from a Germanic word meaning “bright.”

Source: Dictionary.com.

It was one of Kitty’s happy days. Her gown did not feel tight anywhere, her lace bertha did not slip down, her rosettes were neither crumpled nor hanging off, her pink shoes with their high curved heels did not pinch but delighted her little feet.

Source: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.