Wednesday 9 November 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday 9/11/11

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.  

My words this week are taken from Caddie Woodlawn (see my review). Any book written quite some time ago (1935), about a time even earlier (1864) will have some new words, and Caddie was no exception.

1. Bully (adjective)

This comes up multiple times during the book. We all know and use bully in a modern sense, but this was a surprising usage for me:

"Caddie, they've got bully tops in the store at Dunnville," added Warren hopefully. 

"It's bully fun!" yelled Warren.

There are lots of definitions at Free Dictionary. It's really interesting how there has been quite a change in usage especially in the noun form. There is also bully beef of course!

Bully (noun)
i) A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people. 
ii) A hired ruffian; a thug.
iii) A pimp.
iiii) Archaic. A fine person.
iiiii) Archaic. A sweetheart.

Bully (adjective).
Excellent; splendid. 

2. Haycock (noun)

I, myself, remember the long walks and the slim dinners and sometimes nights spent under a haycock, when we could not find a tavern which wanted decorating. 

Chiefly British. A conical mound of hay. The Free Dictionary.

Picture credit

3. Tow- headed (adjective)

An exciting game became much more exciting when, on coming out of hiding, one felt that he might find himself face to face with a redskin instead of tow-headed Maggie or gentle Sam.

i) A head of white-blond head resembling tow. 
ii) A person with such hair.
iii) A sand-bar or low lying alluvial island in a river, especially one with a stand of trees. The Free Dictionary.

It's pretty funny that I didn't know this word, as I believe I would qualify as tow- headed. And what is this tow that we tow-heads resemble? Tow is coarse broken flax or hemp fibre prepared for spinning. 



4. Arbutus (noun)

One day, when the three adventurers were in the woods hunting for arbutus to take to Teacher, they heard a roaring on the river. 

i) Any of the broad leaved evergreen trees or shrubs of the genus Arbutus, including the madrona and strawberry tree, that are native chiefly to the warm regions in the Americas and Europe. 
ii) The trailing arbutus. The Free Dictionary.

What wiki has as a representative picture

5. Hogshead barrel (noun)

So they came to his farm one day and got him and put him in a big hogshead barrel.

Any of various units of volume or capacity ranging from 63 to 140 gallons (238 to 530 litres), especially a unit of capacity of liquid measure in the United States, equal to 63 gallons (238 litres).
A large barrel or cask. The Free Dictionary. 

6. Haymow (noun)

"You wanted to turn somersaults in the haymow, didn't you, Cousin Annabelle?"

i) Hayloft.
ii) The hay stored in a hayloft. 
iii)  Archaic. A haystack

Picture credit

7. Hoyden (noun)

But that a daughter of mine should so far forget herself in her hospitality to a guest- that she should be such a hoyden as to neglect her proper duties as a lady!

A high spirited, boisterous or saucy girl. The Free Dictionary. 


Hannah said...

Ah, I've clearly read many a ye olde novel, because "bully" is one I know completely. Hurrah! :)

Anonymous said...

I wonder if that's where the term "bully for you" comes from?

bermudaonion said...

I remember learning that Teddy Roosevelt used the word bully, so it's definitely an older term that's not used much these days - at least in the US.

I did know towhead because the South is full of them. When my son was young, I took him to a party that had a lot of young children in attendance - he was the only non-blonde child there!

Thanks for playing along.

Anonymous said...

A lot of new meanings for bully, I did not know.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Louise,

I checked out your great review of 'Caddie Woodlawn' and this is definitely one that I wouldn't mind reading someday.

I was surprised when I found that it was an American book, by an American author, as many of your words this week ae used extensively here in the UK and it is rarely that you see so many transposable words.

The only word which is new to me is 'Arbutus', although we do have something here in the UK which looks similar.

A great post, I really njoyed reading all your useful information.


Annie said...

A beautiful and rich post ! I'm always amazed by the numerous words we discover every weeks ! Thanks !

Kath Lockett said...

I hadn't heard of haycock before, but 'bully for you' and being 'tow-headed' was familiar. And how I know what the blog 'Hoyden About Town' refers to!

Margot said...

I like how you showed the development of the word bully. Very interesting. I remember haycock from when I was a girl. All the farmers used to do that to their newly cut hay. Now it's all done by machines with those efficient little bundles.

Julie @ Read Handed said...

Great words today. I really like hoyden. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer said...

Didn't know haycock, didn't know hoyden could only be applied to a girl. Great words!

Lady In Read said...

I knew #s 1 (as a noun, of course, not the adjective!), 2, 5 and 7 but the others, thought I have read them, I guess I did not think too much about their meaning.
nice list.. and thanks for visiting..