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Sunday Musings: Weird Words of the Week

highwayGood morning. Well, Old Man Winter has a firm grasp on this part of the world, and while it might look magical, as it does in this picture, it isn’t always as nice.  This morning, the temperature is a balmy -16 C (3F), but with the windchill, it feels like -21C (-6F) Tonight’s a good night for a wood fire and cuddling as the mercury drops to -28C (-18F), which will be the temperature I’ll wake up to tomorrow. Strangely, as has been the norm around here this year,  by Wednesday, it’ll be 5 C (41F). Crazy, right? No wonder everyone gets sick–cold and flu season.

For as long as I can remember, it was traditional to make New Year’s Resolutions. Each year, I vowed to do the same thing–lose weight, get more exercise, spend quality time with friends and family, etc. The only one I’ve ever managed to keep was spending time with my family.

I haven’t made any resolutions this year, but I have challenged myself to do a better job keeping in touch with others, including the people on social media. I am not good at this–never have been–but I’m determined to try harder. One way I want to do this is through regularly scheduled posts.  So, with that in mind, last week I posted the first of my weekly personal blogs. Since I wasn’t at the computer on New Year’s day, I posted on Monday. If you didn’t read it, just follow the link below.

rave_in_the_henge_2005_02Welcome to the second Sunday of 2017. As I explained last week, among the Christmas gifts I received, was a calendar of forgotten English words and folklore. Last week, I babysat my grandchildren for four days. We had a great time, and one of them enjoyed the “funny” words on my calendar. What were they? Well, on the 3rd, we had ZINGERATION, which is according to Edward Slow’s Glossary of Wiltshire words, a word used by peasants, circa 1900 to describe a musical party. Today, we’ve chosen a new way to describe something similar. an electronic music dance party that lasts all night is called a Rave. So, do you think this Summer Solstice Rave took place in the 1900s?

lossy-page1-330px-comparative_lettering_hauy-barbier-braille-tifOn the 4th, I learned about CROSS-READING. In the mid to late nineteenth century, people purposely read the newspaper across from left to right, instead of the usual up and down columns, to mix the stories into sometimes hilarious connections between subjects and stories. Maybe that was where Lewis Carroll got his inspiration for The Jabberwocky  and other nonsense verses. Jan 4th was also Louis Braille’s birthday. It was interesting to note the famous Braille alphabet for the blind was adapted from a failed military system designed by Barbier to send messages to the soldiers that could be understood in the dark. The ‘night writing’ project  was too complicated and impractical for use, and was never deployed.

January 5th gave me the word EMBRANGLEMENT, which essentially means to confuse and perplex. The word is still used today as a synonym for confusion, ensnarement, entanglement, involvement or trouble. Maybe I’ll use it in a book someday.

hoodsMy second favorite word of the week was LIRIPOOP. What on earth is that? Well, it can be one of two things. Most commonly, it’s the long tail on a graduate’s hood, which comes from the medieval latin word liripipium. If you look hard enough, there’s a word for everything.

modern-leripoops The second meaning requires a slight alteration to the spelling LERIPOOPS were eighteenth century shoes tipped with horn and tied up to the knees with either silk ribbons or silver chains.  Maybe modern ones would look a little like these? Either way, I’m not wearing them. haxeyhoodlogoadamwheewall

The 6th was also Haxey Hood Day, a 13th century folklore activity that still goes on today in Haxey Lincolnshire. You can learn more about it by checking out the link below.

st-gudulaThe week ended with the Saturday -Sunday word that really had them laughing. The word GUBBERTUSHED means having projecting teeth, what we might call buckteeth. Did you know there’s a patron saint of dental problems? Neither did I. Today is the feast day of St. Gudula, and you can visit her skull, carefully preserved in the St Hildegard Catholic Church  in Eibingen, Germany.Who knew?

Well, that’s it for this week. Come back next week for more Weird Words of the Week.

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Finally retired after more than 30 years as a teacher! Now, I get to spend my time gardening, enjoying my grandchildren, and writing. I finally completed the number one item in my bucket list and Crimson Romance published my first novel, Fire Angel, in April 2013. Since then I have published 24 manuscripts to date and don't plan to quit writing for a long time yet.

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