A few fun words that were new to me this week:
siskin, n A small green and yellow European finch, Carduelis Spinus spinus or Carduelis spinus
page xviii, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“My presence is as the siskin, not the nightingale; and rather than the blazing fire, I am the bricks that keep it in.”
pennons, pl n Long narrow banners or streamers borne upon lances; pennants, banners, flags; pinions, wings
page xx, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“I made a sincere study of the contexts of their lives, the lives of our spiritual ancestors, clothing, castles, worship, fears, faith and feignings and fightings, including even the brave spectacle of
‘Trumpet, drums, flags and pennons,
Standards of horses white and black—’
as wrote the Provençal poet Bertrand de Born.”
bailey, n The outer wall of a castle; the space enclosed by this outer wall
page 4, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“When the weather looked kindly upon her, she covered her head with nothing but this wimple, and breezes in the bailey would catch at its shoulder-folds and puff them with air and lift them around her head as if they were the wings of the white swan of lazy waters, unfolding now toward flight.”
villeins, pl n Members of a class of feudal serfs who held the legal status of freemen in their dealings with all people except their lord
page 8, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“Ever moved by a restless love for the lands and their peoples, and guided by a deep sense of stewardship before God and every righteous authority, Julian’s father brought economy and organization to every transaction of the castle and its territories; he brought a balanced judgment to the disputes of the villeins and all the souls within his care; he made his word trustworthy and true before ambassadors and powers abroad; and thereby did he both preserve the inheritance and cause it to flourish ere he would die and pass the enrichments on to Julian.”
quintain, n A post or an object mounted on a post, used as a target in tilting exercises (A common form in England consisted of an upright post, on the top of which was a horizontal bar turning on a pivot; to one end of this a sandbag was attached, to the other a broad board: and it was a trial of skill to strike or tilt at the broad end with a lance, and pass on before the bag of sand could whirl round and strike the tilter on the back.)
page 10, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“For this young king had been but a pale prince, the second son of his father, a quiet, observant land more taken by books than by the quintain.”
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What new words have you found lately?