10 words (part 3)

It’s Wednesday and time for my guest blogger to take over today 🙂

 

10 WORDS – 3

Well it’s roughly 3 months since I did my last 10 words post (and about 3 months before that the first one) so here goes with a third lot. But just before I get into the new words I thought it might be good to just list the previous ones. How many meanings you can remember?

(19.12.12) 10 Words – 1: Scrofulous, Saponifying, Manticora, Nutation, Costive, Smörgåsbord, Panemone, Leitmotif, Rhabdomancy, Scrimshaw.

(20.03.13) 10 Words – 2: Chthonian, Sisyphean, Anaglyptography, Dendrochronology, Agitprop, Fomites, Voroni Diagram, Uxorious, Prolegomena, Armigerous.

Here we go:

1. TAPHEPHOBIA – (From p.26 in March 2013 edition of magazine called Wonderpedia)

It means: the fear of being buried alive.

The sentence in the magazine is simply explaining its meaning so no need to quote it here.

2. GARDEROBE – (This is from p.483 of The Forbidden Queen by Anne O’Brien)

It means: a wardrobe or its contents, an armoury, a private room, a privy.

Now that’s quite a spread of meanings so I think you have to gauge the right one by the context. Clearly the word is of French origin and at first glance would appear to suggest a place to keep (garde) a robe or clothing. Whilst this is definitely one of its meanings, in the use quoted below it probably refers to something which was a forerunner of our modern day toilet (so the privy definition). Some medieval castles had a simple hole which went through the wall into either a cesspit or the moat. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t a good idea to try and escape by swimming across the moat; it could easily have contained untold amounts of human faeces

Here’s a picture of one built in a castle in England.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Garderobe,_Peveril_Castle,_Derbyshire.jpg

Certain types of Middle Eastern dhows, even today, still have a small box built onto the stern which crew members can crouch down in so that the waste (number 2s!) goes out into the water. You can see them along the Creek in Dubai and other ports around the Arabian Gulf. (Colloquially, they were called “thunder boxes” when I was there.)

And here’s how it’s used in the book:

“I groaned with the pain, retching into the garderobe until my belly was raw and then I was driven to my chamber with curtains pulled to douse me in darkness until I could withstand the light once more.”

3. TERGIVERSATION– (This is from p.64 of the BBC History Magazine, Apr 2013)

It means: the turning of one’s back, desertion, changing of sides, shuffling, shifting

And here’s how it’s used (in the review of a book by J. Patrick Corby):

“Corby describes his target audience as college students, and the opening survey of European History, and the introductory tone of much of his prose appears to confirm this. Yet such students might stumble over words like ‘tergiversation’ or baulk at a number of unsubstantiated statements…..”

4. SORTILÈGES – (This is from p.23 of the BBC History Magazine, Apr 2013)

It means: divination by drawing lots.

And here’s how it’s used in an article about Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn:

“Another story, reported third-hand by Chapuys, quotes Henry as telling an unidentified courtier that he had married Anne ‘seduced and constrained by sortilèges’”.

5. HENDIADYS – (This is from p.36 of The Acts of the Apostles by J. A. Alexander)

It means: An expression in which an adjective & noun are replaced by two nouns joined by ‘and’: e.g. saying someone was ‘clad in cloth & green’ instead of ‘clad in green cloth’.

And here’s how it’s used:

“Ministry & apostleship is not a mere hendiadys meaning apostolic ministry but a generic and specific term combined, the one denoting service in general, the other a particular office.”

A further well-known example can be found in a line in The Lord’s Prayer: “For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory”, which is another way of saying, “For Thine is the glorious, powerful Kingdom”. In this case, two adjectives & a noun are replaced by three nouns with the conjunction ‘and’ linking them to give an additional emphasis.

 

6. HAMADRYAD – (This is from p.160 of The Elizabethans by A. N. Wilson)

It means: A wood-nymph which dies when the tree in which she lives dies or a large Ethiopian baboon.

And here’s how it’s used:

“Even the hunting parties were punctuated with pageantry. As she came riding home one evening, she was met by Gascoigne dressed as the Savage Man. On another evening he was Sylvanus, god of the woods, who told her that all the forest dwellers, the fauns, dryads, hamadryads and wood-nymphs were in tears at the rumour that she might be about to leave.”

Here’s a pic of one type of Hamadryad

Try getting that one into your conversation this week!

7. DEMI-MONDAINE – (This is from p.58 of a book called The Love & Wars of Lina Prokofiev)

It means: A kept mistress of society men; shady section of a profession or group; a class of women in an unrespectable social position.

And here’s how it’s used:

“In her first letters from Paris to Serge (Prokofiev), Lina mentions fraternizing with the nineteen year old demimondaine Alice Prin, nicknamed ‘Kiki de Montparnasse.’”

The book gives a very interesting insight into something of the politics & manoeuvrings in the world of classical music composers and the Russian government. Despite Lina’s parents being a Russian-born soprano and a Spanish tenor she does not seemed to have inherited their vocal gift to quite the same degree. She was certainly a singer of merit but never quite reached the pinnacle of her profession and seemed to miss out on crucial roles. Even Prokoviev himself could not emulate the slightly older Stravinsky and although his rivalry with Rachmaninoff, some said, proved he was a better composer he remained less popular than him. Perhaps his most widely known piece is Peter and the Wolf in which Peter is represented by the strings and the wolf by the horns; other instruments represent other animals: the flute a bird, the oboe a duck, the clarinet a cat, the bassoon a grandfather and the woodwind section the hunters.

8. CHIAROSCURO – (This is from Loc 4003 of 5004 in Kindle book – Samuel F. B. Morse (His Letters and Journals))

It means: A painting in black & white; Effects of light & shade or variety & contrast

And here’s how it’s used:

“The story is not told; the figures are not grouped but huddled together; they are not well-drawn individually; the character is vulgar and tame; there is not taste in the disposal of the drapery and ornaments, no effect of chiaroscuro.”

In case you’re wondering about the name, it really is the Morse who invented the Morse code. However Samuel Findley Breese Morse started life as a portrait painter and spent many years doing just that. Born in 1791, he was admitted to the Royal Academy in 1811 but did not develop the Morse Code until into his forties.

9. INELUCTABLY(This is from p.269 of The Love & Wars of Lina Prokofiev)

It means: Not able to be escaped from or avoided

And here’s how it’s used:

“The accounts of women who knew Lina in the camps are ineluctably confused with dates and events overlapping.”

The reference to ‘camps’ here is because Lina Prokofiev was sent to prison (the Gulags), on fabricated charges, for what turned out to be 8 years (after having been sentenced to 20 years). She was incarcerated in various “camps” (for example, Inta, Abez, Yava, Potma) and it is believed only her Christian Science beliefs helped her endure the terrible physical and mental conditions she experienced there. She was released in June 1956 having been helped in her appeal by one of her husband’s rivals – the composer Shostakovich. (Prokofiev himself had died in 1953.) She was finally able to emigrate from Russia in 1974 and settled in England. She died in London, in 1989, aged 91.

10. STERTOROUSLY – (This is from p.193 of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell)

It means: With a snoring sound

And here’s how it’s used:

“She sat up very late, sewing, and when at length she did go upstairs she found him lying on his back, partly undressed on the outside of the bedclothes, with his mouth wide open, breathing stertorously.”

This is a weighty tome at just short of 600 pages set in about 1906. Although obviously allegorical it pointedly uses quite ordinary names for the workers: Owen, Philpot, Barrington, Easton, Sawkins etc. However the bosses, companies and other important officials of town council of Mugsborough get such names as: Rushton, Crass, Slyme, Dauber & Botchit, Makehaste & Sloggit, Bluffem & Doemdown, Snatcher & Graball, Smeariton & Leavit; even some of the ladies are given disparaging ‘names’ like Mrs M. T. Head, Mrs Knobrane & Mrs Starvem. You get the idea.

And finally:

In 1946, George Orwell wrote an essay called “Politics and the English Language”. In it he highlighted something very relevant to writers and politicians. I’d like to finish with his quote:

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alex Jones on June 19, 2013 at 17:23

    The last quote is especially apt for politicians, lawyers and hubristic scholars.

    Reply

  2. ok, 4 out of 10 this time! You really had me stumped with the H words. Good one

    Reply

    • I reckon 4/10 on this lot is very respectable. Well done, I’m impressed. I thought, apart from a couple, they were all tough. The H words were some of the ones I’d never even seen before coming across them in the books in which I found them. A few of the others I’d seen but couldn’t give a proper definition.

      Reply

  3. […] we learnt about what garderobes are on 19.6.13 in 10 Words (Part 3). What is interesting is the location of them in this castle: although you can’t see it in the pic […]

    Reply

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