Thursday, March 21, 2013

Would there were words for......

I usually try the cryptic crossword puzzle in the daily paper. Yesterday, there was a clue that I knew was an anagram, that is, the letters in the phrase "at shop" had to be rearranged to get a language spoken in Afghanistan. I didn't know the language so I looked it up - Pashto.

While on-line, I decided to look up another clue - handy cover for ancient fighters - which I thought might be a type of medieval glove - gauntlet didn't fit, so I looked up medieval armour for the hands and found this neat site on - guess what - medieval armour!!!

OK, perhaps you really have to find medieval armour exciting and maybe not everyone does. What I did enjoy, though, were all these words - names of the parts of a suit of armour - that I had never heard before, such as, Sabatons, Greaves, Poleyns, and Cuisses, to name just a few.

Often exploring the terminology used in other fields gives a depth and scope to our own use of language. I have done a lot of work in the area of fibre art, so I occasionally use terms, such as, weft, woof, warp, and selvage, from weaving, in my creative writing. I might say something like the "selvages of our lives" or one needs "the warp of a strong conviction to weave an enduring tapestry."

Other areas that provide a rich vocabulary are Woodworking - with words such as, ogee, kerf, and ferrule. You could also try - TheatrePotteryPoker etc... Please post any areas where you have found with an interesting lexicon.

Now, with my newly acquired vocabulary in medieval armour, I can say something like "I put on my Sabatons to walk the battlefield of our relationship."

I wish I had the time to explore more areas of interest. Sadly, there are just not enough hours in the day - or to borrow an analogy from the dominant culture - being a small circuit in the motherboard of time, my life is limited and to date, they have not created an app for eternal life, as we know it, so I make my connections where I can, or where I must and hope that the battery is a duracell :)

The picture is a mortar and pestle. I took it partly because it was available, but also because it suggests the fine art of blending and concocting. In researching for this post I came across some interesting fields which probably made good use of the "grinder" - Alchemy, Sorcery, Witchcraft and the Science of the Apothecary. Maybe another post.

P.S. The answer to the clue about the hand cover was "cestus" an ancient battle glove. Possibly parallel to, but not directly associated with, armour.

Have an amazing day!!


  1. I love this post. I never took the time to search for words of different cultures, but I can see where it would be fascinating, and add so much more to the scope of our thinking. Expanding our vocabulary in such a way would certainly expand our minds.

  2. Thank you Suerae - glad you liked it!!

  3. Every day, my mind expands a tiny bit more. A wealth of information awaits on the internet, if only we had the time and information to persue it.

  4. I agree that this is what grows up as humans. Our need to know & understand things. Ok, sometimes just to know. :)

  5. This is too clever:

    my life is limited and to date, they have not created an app for eternal life, as we know it, so I make my connections where I can, or where I must and hope that the battery is a duracell :)

    Mine is too, but I would never have thought to say it like that. Thanks for a great mind expanding blog, Carol.

  6. I love learning new words and agree there just aren't enough hours in the day. I find that I'll often hop on the internet to check the meaning of a word that I might otherwise just tried to have understood through context only. And "Words with Friends" opponents' use of unknown words has broadened my vocab.

  7. Proof that our vocabulary always borrows from the past, as it finds new ways to convey meaning...

    (Cute used to mean short, fat, and bowlegged...)

  8. Well, what can I say: no wonder I find learning to speak English so hard!