Wednesday 21 March 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday 21/3/12

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a fabulous weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion, where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our weekly reading.  

This weeks words come from my recent readings about Marie Antoinette and Joan of Arc

From Marie Antoinette. 

1. Muguets (Noun)

Would you tint the muguets that spring from the earth after the last snows of winter?

Lily of the valley. 

A traditional gift on May 1

2. Venial (adjective)

But it was not a sin, mortal or venial.

i) Easily excused or forgiven; pardonable.
ii) Roman Catholic Church. Minor, therefore warranting only temporal punishment. 

3. Gavotte (Noun)

Master Noverre pranced up to me with his beaked eagle mask and whispered that the French delegation was enchanted with my gavotte.

i) A French peasant dance of Baroque origin in moderately quick duple meter.
ii) Music for this dance. The Free Dictionary. 

There are a number of gavotte videos on you tube, many don't look like those that would have been danced in a formal court, this one does, not sure if it's what Marie Antoinette would have danced. It looks frightfully complicated.

From Joan of Arc.

4. Bombards (Noun)

Now it was surrounded by English soldiers, battering it with their bombards. 

Illustration from Joan of Arc
A large calibre, muzzle-loading medieval cannon or mortar, used chiefly in sieges for throwing heavy stone balls. The name bombarde was first noted and sketched in a French historical text around 1380. Wiki

The more familiar word bombardment comes from bombard.

5. Pennon (Noun)

And as they jostled against her; a flaring torch caught the pennon of her standard, and set it alight. 

i) A long narrow banner or streamer borne upon a lance.
ii) A pennant, banner, or flag. 
iii) A pinion; a wing. The Free Dictionary. 


Mary R. said...

I would have guessed a gavotte was a weapon of some sort. It's good to look these things up! Thanks for sharing such interesting words (and pictures).

Libby said...

Wow! These are interesting :) I had guessed that bombardment came from bombard, but I did not know most of the rest. So, thanks for sharing!

bermudaonion said...

I knew muguet from our time in France - they sell lily of the valley on the streets on May 1st. I also knew venial sine my mother is Catholic. They should perform the gavotte on Dancing with the Stars!

Margot said...

I love lilies of he valley - have some coming up now. I like this new name for them. It does seem classier.

Satia said...

I love lily-of-the-valley. Did you know they are poisonous to eat? Just one of those random trivia things I know for no apparent reason. I always wanted to carry them in my wedding bouquet even after I found out they were poisonous.

Sim Carter said...

That post took me back to my youth! I used to wear Muguet du Bois (not sure of the spelling)
I think it was Yardley who put it out once a year in the spring! I did NOT know they were poisonous but the smell is just aaaaah!

Joy said...

I knew venial from marrying a lapsed Catholic and gavotte from playing one in piano lessons as a child. I love that bombardment comes from a word I didn't know, bombards--what a great little fact!
Joy's Book Blog

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Jellicle Cats are not too big;...
They know how to dance a gavotte and a jig. T. S. elliot

It also calls to mind Bach's music.

I would love a bouquet of muguets and recently saw them in Paris last April.

Great words, mon amie!


Tea said...

Amazing words, thank you. I seem drawn to "venial."

Tea said...

Wonderful words and illustrations, I seem drawn to the word "venial."

MedicatedMoo said...

Milly the dog and I have just come from walking through a park full of Muguets!

Lady In Read said...

the only word I knew - gavotte . thanks for the words - all interesting..