Wednesday 14 March 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday 14/3/12

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.  

Recently I read The Wind in the Willows for the first time. It was a treasure trove of new words. I've already made one Wondrous Words post from it.  This is the second. 

1. Corsair (Noun)

They gave us a capital one last year, about a field-mouse who was captured at sea by a Barbary corsair, and made to row in a galley; and when he escaped and got home again, his lady-love had gone into a convent.

i) A pirate, especially along the Barbary Coast
ii) A swift pirate ship, often operating with official sanction. The Free Dictionary. 

2. Wonted (adjective)

It was a bright morning in the early part of summer; the river had resumed its wonted banks and its accustomed pace, and a hot sun seemed to be pulling everything green and bushy and spiky up out of the earth towards him, as if by strings. 

Accustomed, usual. The Free Dictionary. 

3. Panoply (Noun)

A good deal of his blustering spirit seemed to have evaporated with the removal of his fine panoply. 

i) A splendid or striking array: a panoply of colourful flags.
ii) Ceremonial attire with all accesories: a portrait of the general in full panoply.
iii) Something that covers and protects: a porcupine's panoply of quills. 
iv) The complete arms and armor of a warrior. The Free Dictionary. 

The meaning here is a bit of all 4 I think. They have just removed Toad from his motor-clothes. 

4. Casquet (Noun)

...up time-worn stairs, past men-at-arms in casquet and corselet of steel, darting threatening looks through their vizards;

A light open casque (15-16th century term for any armour for the head; usually ornate without a visor), without a visor or beaver. 

Oh dear it just gets more confusing, beaver here refers to a piece of armour attached to a helmet or breastplate to protect the mouth and chin. Or indeed the visor. It's all rather circuitous. And seriously, how much would these kids have known about 16th century armour?

Picture credit
5. Corselet (Noun)

Body armour for the trunk, usually consists of a breastplate and back piece. 

Picture credit
6. Halberds (Noun)

past ancient warders, their halberds leant against the wall, dozing over a pasty and a flagon of brown ale:

A two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries. Wiki. 

You can still buy these


Anonymous said...

I didn't recall that there are so many curious words in The Wind in the Willows :-)

Louise said...

But wait there's more! Even more to come....

MedicatedMoo said...

'Panoply' appears a lot even these days, and I confess to reading it and only having a vague idea as to what it meant. Thanks again for your regular weekly info sessions! :)

Mary R. said...

I think, from the picture, that halbards are the weapons the winged monkeys carry around the castle in the movie Wizard of Oz. Never knew they were called that -- thanks

bermudaonion said...

I feel like I should have know a few of those words, but couldn't define any of them, and was totally wrong on some of them. You found some great words in that book!

Annie said...

I can say you, you do speak French : corsaire corselet, panoplie, casquet(te), hallebarde are all the same here !

Anonymous said...

Great new words and pictures.

Margot said...

I like wonted because I can use it right now. We've had two plus inchines of rain this week and our creek (I can see it out my window) has definitely escaped it's wonted banks.

Muzette said...

I enjoyed reading your WWW! I have not read "The Wind in the Willows", but I can see I'm going to have too! One of my favorite words is "circuitous", which you used when describing one of your wondrous words! :)

Susan said...

This is one of the children's classics that slipped by me somehow. I'll have to read it one of these days.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Louise,

I can remember commenting on your last 'Wind In The Willows' selection, that I couldn't remember it containing so many difficult words.

Now I am convinced that there must be two different versions of this book and I obviously had the easy one ... either that or I was a child genius !!! and that certainly isn't the case.

I didn't know about the 'casquet' nor have I ever come across 'wonted', which I thought is a beautiful word, very calming and serene.

I really must make the effort to read this book again, thanks for a great fun post.


Unknown said...

Another bunch of fabulous words. Wish I had read ths yesterday because panoply was exactly the word I needed for a column I was writing...I'll store it away for next time!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I have seen the weapons in museums and in movies but never knew that they were halberds. Love your Wednesday posts particularly digging through the words you have found.