February 19, 2014

Words Are My Friends

It's time again for one of the highlights of my week, the delightful vocabulary meme hosted by BermudaOnion. This week, my word discoveries come from an e-book I've been reading called Montfort: The Founder of Parliament, The Early Years. As the events upon which the novel--and its sequels--are based took place in the 13th century, this series will be a gold mine of new words, I'm sure.

(Unless otherwise indicated, I draw my definitions from Wiktionary, which I have found to be an invaluable resource since I started doing this meme.)

1. cantel--"the raised back of a saddle"--alternate spelling "cantle"

2. quintain--the author herself gave us a definition of this one later in the text: "a dummy mounted on a post with paddle arms outstretched." Wiktionary adds the following explanatory information: "a target to be tilted at in jousting, or otherwise used in target practice." If you've ever watched a film in which knights were training for a tournament, you've probably seen one of these; I had, but didn't know what they were called.

3. fibula--I'm sure we all know a definition for this word, as it is the name of one of the smaller bones in the human leg. However, it apparently has another definition, as well. "An ancient kind of brooch used to hold clothing together, similar in function to the modern safety pin."

Happy wording, everybody!


  1. You will no doubt love my words this week, as I've just spotted your LM Montgomery badge on the side, and my words come courtesy of The Blue Castle :-)
    PS My first guess was that quintain had something to do with 5!

  2. Interesting words! I wonder if the two fibulas are related in any sort of way.

  3. I've not come across cantel. Have seen quintain before in books and thank you for giving the other meaning for fibula :)

  4. Yes, I bet you'll have lots of great words for us in the near future! Forgive me, but I have to point out that the fibula is a small bone in your LEG, not arm. It's the narrow one on the outside, next to your tibia. (I was a physical therapist before mothering took over my life.) The word comes from the Latin figere to fasten; I guess it fastens your leg together? Thanks for great words this week.

    1. Yes, of course it is! Thank you for correcting me on that; I've fixed it in the post now. I remember thinking when I wrote it, "Arm? Leg? I can't remember!" It was very late at night/early in the morning.

  5. I've heard fibula as referring to a bone, but not a brooch. The other two I've never heard of.

  6. I didn't know fibula had another meaning, thanks for sharing.

  7. Cool words. I love knowing that there is a word for that part of the saddle.

  8. I have a couple of lovely brass fibula that I use to hold an old wool cloak on when I wear it. I haven't though about that in ages. Thanks!


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