I began to discover different words for “hill” as I travelled through England and Scotland. In Canada, places are often named after people or after towns in the old country. In Britain, place-names often reflect the landscape. If, in the days of the Celts and Anglo-Saxons, one’s village was built near a hill, it was … Continue reading Tor, Brae, How, & Other Hill-ish Words
Wherefore is one of those archaic words that is not yet quite obsolete. It is young enough that many people have heard of it, but old enough that many have forgotten what it means. It has survived mainly in the phrase “the whys and wherefores,” and in Juliet’s immortal line, “wherefore art thou Romeo?”1 Wherefore … Continue reading The Why of Wherefore
The word comfort is often used as a synonym for solace. When one comforts another, perhaps one who is grieving, he will possibly offer perspective or encouragement, or stand by him as a companion or friend, acknowledging their grief. But comfort has not always had this connotation. Etymologically, comfort means “to strengthen greatly.” Comfort is … Continue reading On “Comfort”
A refuge is a place people run to when they require or desire protection or sanctuary. It is one of those English words whose meaning is so ingrained that the word ceases to be a word at all and becomes only the meaning. The word has dissolved and only the idea remains and the idea, … Continue reading The Etymology of “Refuge”
Convivial is one of those words whose etymology I discovered in a slightly backward fashion. I learned the Latin root word first (in situ while studying Latin) and then the etymology of the Latin word before I even recognised the English cognate. This is possibly one of the best ways to learn the etymology of … Continue reading Convivial: An English Word with an Elvish Meaning
Here, friends, is the post on skriking, which I mentioned bore writing in Rereading The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings, Part 1. Prior to writing this post, I had not the faintest idea of what skrike meant, though I could glean a general sense from its context in The Hobbit. As for its etymology ...
Say the word gloaming aloud to yourself. Does it not have such a lovely sound? What does it make you think of? It reminds me of something like to dusk and twilight but…gloamier. Not as dark as dusk---perhaps not even as dark as twilight. That lovely, velvety time of evening when it is dark but … Continue reading On “Gloaming”