Tag Archives: Middle Ages

Words from my reading

I think these might be the last words I pull from Godric:

gillyflower, n Carnation or a similar plant of the genus Dianthus; wallflower
page 52, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“We stood beside my father’s stone where I had laid a gillyflower down.”
This reminded me of Harry Potter!

woad flowers

woad, n An annual Old World plant (Isatis tinctoria) in the mustard family, formerly cultivated for its leaves that yield a blue dye; the dye obtained from this plant
page 54, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“Her hands were blue as Father’s lips with woad from dyeing fustian for my lord, and she seized with blue fingers round the wrists.”
Apparently you get the same indigo dye from this plant as from “true indigo,” Indigofera tinctoria, but in a lower concentration. [This plant is considered invasive in the United States.]

fustian, n Formerly, a coarse sturdy cloth made of cotton and flax; presently, any of several thick twilled cotton fabrics, such as corduroy, having a short nap; pretentious speech or writing, pompous language
page 54, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“Her hands were blue as Father’s lips with woad from dyeing fustian for my lord, and she seized with blue fingers round the wrists.”

I just love that two of these words are related to dyeing!

Previous words posts drawing on the vocabulary of Godric:
First installment
Second installment

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Book cited here:
Godric by Frederick Buechner [Amazon]*

What new words have you found lately?

* That’s an affiliate link; I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Words from my reading

A few more words from Godric this week:

thimble-riggers, pl n Operators of a shell game
page 30, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“Magicians drew live doves out of the air as easy as thimble-riggers drew pence out of dunces’ pockets, and the Jews in their horned caps and yellow badges sat in booths to weigh out silver at the rates of gold.”

campion, n Any of several plants of the genera Lychnis and Silene native chiefly to the Northern Hemisphere and having variously colored flowers with notched or fringed petals
page 35, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“Campion was everywhere and grey-winged gulls.”

shriving, v To obtain absolution for (oneself) by confessing and doing penance; also, to hear confessions
page 42, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“She’d finished telling all her fleshly sins and knelt for shriving when all at once she flung her clothes above her head an nimble as a tumbler at a fair went topsy-turvy with her bum aloft.”

moiety, n A half; a part, portion, or share
page 46, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“By the time that I was thirty-odd and Mouse’s beard already showed a sprig or two of grey, we owned each one a moiety of the Saint Esprit.”

clouts, pl n [There are many definitions for this word, but in this case, it means:] A cloth, a piece of cloth or leather, a patch, a rag
page 46, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“They were Venetian seamen mostly, as brown and spry as apes, and naked save for clouts to hide their lechery.”

Previous words posts drawing on the vocabulary of Godric:
First installment

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Books cited here:
Godric by Frederick Buechner [Amazon]*

What new words have you found lately?

* That’s an affiliate link; I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Words from my reading

For this week, I’m digging into words from a book that was replete with good ones:

gauds, pl n Pieces of showy finery; a gay trapping, trinket, or the like; any object of ostentation or exultation
page 4, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“We had rabbitfur, goosefeather, beeswax, calfskin, garlic and gauds galore.”
Not gaudy?

perry, n A fermented liquor, similar to cider but made from the juice of pears
page 11, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“She had long legs and hair in a tangle and a gap between her teeth for squirting cider or perry through if ever the whim should take her.”

knout, n A leather scourge used for flogging
page 19, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“I’ve seen a shaft of light aslant through dark, a fierce lance tilted to the heart of things, a flail, a knout.”

goodman, n The man of the house, master, husband, head of a family; an appellation of civility; a term of respect, frequently used to or of a person before his surname: nearly equivalent to Mr. or sometimes to gaffer, sometimes used ironically
page 20, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“‘I planted horns on many a goodman’s brown and jollied lads with tales about it afterward.'”

fettle, v To line the hearth of (a reverberatory furnace) with loose sand or ore in preparation for pouring molten metal
page 29, Godric by Frederick Buechner
“If my lord said harrow, he’d harrow, said tinker, he’d tinker or fettle he’d fettle though he was no villein bound to serve but a man born free as any man and paid the rent of our poor roof with pence.”

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Books cited here:
Godric by Frederick Buechner [Amazon]*

What new words have you found lately?

* That’s an affiliate link; I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Words from my reading

A few fun words that were new to me this week:

camlet, n A garment made from rich cloth of Asian origin, supposed originally to have been made of camel’s hair and silk and later made of goat’s hair and silk or other combinations
page 68, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“So quiet, so cool the morning, Julian dressed in a robe of camlet and boots of a high black leather; he slung a quiver of arrows over his back, hooked his yew bow to that, then went down the interior stairs, down the stairs of the fore-building, and out the porch door to make first tracks in the pristine snow, to walk in pleasant solitude.”

holm, n Holly; an island in a river (chiefly British); an islet, sometimes with holly bushes
page 74, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“Every house in the villages, every parish church in the lord’s demesne, and the castle chapel too, and all the rooms in the castle itself were merrily decked with holm and ivy and bay and whatsoever the season afforded to be green.”

mummers, pl n Masked or costumed merrymakers, especially at a festival; mimes; actors
page 76, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“Mummers came on the twenty-seventh.”

tarn, n “A pool of green water into which salts and deadly minerals had leached”
page 166, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“It is as still as crystal, for nothing can live in such a tarn.”

Previous words posts drawing on the vocabulary of Saint Julian:
First installment
Second installment
Third installment
Fourth installment

This concludes my list of words from Saint Julian! I think I only have words from one other big one stacked up, but perhaps next week a brief interlude of a lighter book?

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Books cited here:
Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.* [my review]

What new words have you found lately?

* That’s an affiliate link; I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Words from my reading

A few fun words that were new to me this week:

postern, adj Situated in the back or at the side; small rear gate, especially one in a fort or castle
page 54, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“Early in the morning of the day before his knighting, even before the dawning, Julian had arisen from bed and crept down to the chapel, where he laid his great sword on the altar, then had slipped out the postern gate into the mists of the new-mown fields.”
Guessing it means back.

irenic, adj Promoting peace, conciliatory
page 57, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“Over their shoulders he dashed, over their succeeding summits — until suddenly the hunter was standing at the high edge of a hidden valley, panting, staring down upon a scene irenic, almost an Eden.”

brockets, pl n Two-year-old red deer with their first horns; a group of the deer family
page 58, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“Oh, how tender in his nostrils was their scent, the various breathings of does and brockets and yearlings, the huffing breath of bucks, the earth-odor ascending from their flanks!”

merlons, pl n The solid portions between crenels in a battlement or crenelated wall
page 68, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
Oh, Lord, how lovely is your snow: snow as white as absolution on the bailey grounds; snow in rounded mounds on the merlons at the top of his father’s tower; snows to bank the grey-black river, snows to keep it sharply bound as, serpent-like, it wound through pure-white fields unto the horizon.”

Previous words posts drawing on the vocabulary of Saint Julian:
First installment
Second installment
Third installment

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Books cited here:
Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.* [my review]

What new words have you found lately?

* That’s an affiliate link; I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Words from my reading

A few fun words that were new to me this week:

minikin, n A very small delicate creature (archaic); a fine mincing lass; a small sort of gut-string formerly used in the lute and viol, and various other stringed instruments: it was properly the treble string of a lute or fiddle
page 33, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“He panted beside his mother, her blue eyes oblivious of the minikin blasphemies at her feet.”

sollar, n Originally, an open gallery or balcony at the top of a house, exposed to the sun; later, any upper room, loft, or garret; an elevated chamber in a church from which to watch the lamps burning before the altars;
page 37, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“He was removed, too, from the wide attic rooms where he’d slept on pallets with the other children of the castle, and was granted a room of his own near the sollar where his parents slept.”

aurochs, n A species of wild ox or buffalo, the bonasos of Aristotle, bison of Pliny, the European bison, Bos or Bison bonasus of modern naturalists
page 50, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“He knew the rotting odor of wolves’ exhalations, the dusty smell of small-eyed bear, the leaf-moldering coat of the aurochs, the vinegar piss of fox — and even the more timid creatures of the forest he could locate by the sound of them: hares, badgers, squirrels, martens, otters.”
Some sort of animal …

wyverns, pl n Two-legged dragons having wings and barbed tails
page 51, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“Pavilions filled the eastern reaches of the field, heraldic colors, banners displaying dragons, wyverns, lions, fishes, harps.”
Ditto.

anchorite, n One who lives in isolation or seclusion, especially for religious reasons
page 54, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“‘An anchorite,’ said the sauce cook, ‘secluding himself to meditate upon five wounds and a crown of thorns….'”

Previous words posts drawing on the vocabulary of Saint Julian:
First installment
Second installment

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Books cited here:
Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.* [my review]

What new words have you found lately?

* That’s an affiliate link; I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Words from my reading

A few fun words that were new to me this week:

tonsure, v The act of shaving the head or part of the head, especially as a preliminary to becoming a priest or a member of a monastic order
page 10, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“That brutal king swore to tonsure his second son.”
Once I read the definition I instantly had a picture of this in my head!

demesne, n Manorial land retained for the private use of a feudal lord; the grounds belonging to a mansion or country house; an extensive piece of landed property, an estate
page 10, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“At that time a member of the old king’s royal council, thirty-two years old, the lord of his own demesne, and in liege obedience to his king, Julian’s father asked to keep the lad as servus a manu, one to write his dictations while he was himself acting in the court’s service.”

samite, n A heavy silk fabric, often interwoven with gold or silver, worn in the Middle Ages
page 11, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“His clothes were mostly wool, though at the young king’s court he wore samite, sendal, damask; and the furs that trimmed his raiment were lambskin, rabbit, miniver, otter, marten….”
I could tell this was a fabric, of some kind.

sendal, n A thin light silk used in the Middle Ages for fine garments, church vestments, and banners
page 11, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“His clothes were mostly wool, though at the young king’s court he wore samite, sendal, damask; and the furs that trimmed his raiment were lambskin, rabbit, miniver, otter, marten….”
Ditto on the fabric.

grandee, n A nobleman of the highest rank in Spain or Portugal; used as the title for such a nobleman; a person of eminence or high rank
page 33, Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.
“A tiny grandee, proud of himself?”

I also posted words from Saint Julian last week. (And there’s more where those came from! Maybe I’ll have to break them up, intersperse them with words from other books?)

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

Book cited here:
Saint Julian by Walt Wangerin Jr.* [my review]

* That’s an affiliate link; I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

What new words have you found lately?