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Cover Image for Hooked Hello,

This week I’ve been thinking about the words we use to refer to the ones we love (be that romantic, friendly, or familial love). Simple terms like my love, darling, or dearie all refer to the actual love, but others have a unifying theme.

In English, for example, we say honey, sugar, sweetie, sweetpea, pumpkin, cupcake – all words that say the object of our affection is sweet in some way.

Some of these sugary terms are used in other languages and cultures too, but not always. However the term used will always refer to something that culture values.

In Thai, for example, you may call them your little elephant (elephants are seen as very lucky). In Arabic a man may refer to a woman as being his gazelle. A Russian may call you their little kitten or little bird. If a Frenchman calls you his little cabbage then you’ve been complimented. In Argentina you might be called my bug, or my sky (high and unreachable!). In Finland you could be somebody’s breadcrumb. In Ecudor couples may call each other fatty (yes it’s a positive term there), and in Danish you’d be skat which means treasure and is also the word for taxes – gulp. My favourite Irish (Gaelic) term is mo ghrá which means “my love”, but there’s also mo chuisle mo chroí which means “the pulse of my heart”.

You’ll find a more complete list here and here.

So while love may make the world go round, you may need to bring your dictionary with you on the trip.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace

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Hello,

This week’s word is money. Not because I’ve found a horde of gold. Nor because it’s a particularly fun word to say. But because its word origins are interesting.

First, a quick recap on your Greek and Roman gods. You probably remember the Greek god Zeus (big beard, lightening bolt, king of the gods, the works). He’s known as Jupiter or Jove to the Romans.

Jupiter was married to his sister, Juno (known as Hera to the Greeks). She had the month of June named after her and was patron of marriage.

Roman Coin (replica)

Roman Coin (replica)

There was a flock of sacred geese kept in the temple of Juno in Rome. The story goes (according to Livy, a Roman historian who lived 400 years later) that around 390 B.C. the Gauls (a.k.a the French) tried a night attack on Rome but the noisy geese raised the alarm and saved the city. The Gauls were sneaking up on the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter (dedicated to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva) which contained the gold, silver, and bronze treasury of ancient Rome. Basically it was a heist gone wrong on the wealth of the most powerful empire in the Western world.

After this incident Juno got a new title – Juno Moneta – Juno who warns – and in 344 B.C. a temple to Juno Moneta was built in Rome as the new treasury and mint. I’ll bet they hired in a few more geese at the same time.

roman mint cropped

Temple of Moneta / The Roman Mint

 

Monetary, money, and mint all come from the word moneta. Apparently the temple’s columns and walls were gilded and the money was stored beneath. It must have shone in the Italian sunshine. Sadly that splendour is no more but you can visit its exterior on a tour of the Roman Forum, as I did last month.

Until next time, happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace

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Woggle

Hello,

This week Wordfoolery brings you woggle because it sounds funny and conjures images of a wobbly teddy bear on a high wire. I’ve spent the last two weekends camping, first with my Beaver Scouts and then helping with the Cub Scouts because they were short-handed. It’s amazing how much gear children leave in lost property after a camp and woggles are very high on that list because they’re small and easy to misplace.

woggle I was really hoping that the woggle was named for a person – Mrs Esmerelda Woggle of Woggledon Hall, Surrey perhaps? Then I could have included it in my eponym series but although the woggle was invented, it wasn’t by Esmerelda.

The woggle was invented by an Australian Scout Bill Shankley in the 1920s as a device to tie a neckerchief – that’s the coloured scarf worn by Scouts and Girl Guides worldwide. There are a number of different designs now and some are only allowed for specific levels of Scouting achievement or particular groups but basically if it holds together the ends of your necker, it’s a woggle. Now I have woggle-envy after seeing the Maori head carved woggles used in New Zealand.

The word woggle can also be used as a verb. According to Merriam Webster it means to alter or waggle something. Presumably a Scout could woggle his woggle then? Or wiggle-waggle his woggle?

Now that’s why I enjoy a word like woggle.

I’ll be travelling for the next two weeks but will try to schedule a post here during my absence. Failing that, I’ll be wordfooling again on the 8th of July.

Until next time happy reading, writing and wordfooling.

Grace

Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn or sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

 

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Hello,

Clomantagh Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland

Clomantagh Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland

This week’s word (brought to you slightly late because I was fooling around at Clomantagh Castle last weekend) is obloquy (pronunciation here “ob-luh-qui”). It means invective, verbal abuse, vitriol, vituperation, imprecate, slur, and fulmination. It again prompts a query about why we have so many words of abuse and anger in the English language. I just don’t see the same level of creative word-invention when it comes to saying something good about someone.

But whatever the reason, we’re rather good at heaping obloquy on those we dislike and now at least you know the term for that action.

The word dates from the 15th century (much like that castle, restored by the Irish Landmark Trust) and comes from Latin/French/Middle English roots of ob meaning against and loqui – meaning to speak.

I hope you’re not the victim of obloquy this week. Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling instead.

Grace

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Hello,

This week’s word is folly. I have always loved architectural follies and this blog is dedicated to fools, or more specifically word-fools, so follies fit here.

Folly (pronounced foll-ee) is a noun meaning 1. foolishness or foolish actions and 2. a useless, extravagant structure. Sadly the grounds of my own garden are far too small for such an edifice. I don’t have the resources of the Victorian estate owners who constructed them to create a focal point for their gardens. But I’ve been lucky enough to encounter many follies in my travels. The grounds of the former Guinness house in St. Anne’s Park, Raheny wasn’t too far from my childhood home and I loved the classical follies along the stream there. In fact they are planning a follies trail there in what is now a large public park.

Spire of Lloyd

Spire of Lloyd

I also studied the nearby Casino at Marino in art class at school. It’s accessible by guided tour only but is worth a trip if you’re in Dublin. Every time I visit my in-laws  in Cavan we drive past my personal favourite – the inland lighthouse, the Spire of Lloyd at Kells. Built to provide a landmark for the returning hunt it sometimes has a beam from the top to complete the picture.

I’d love to visit the cast-iron biscuit barrel of a tomb which is the Dennis Mausoleum of Clonbern in Co. Galway for it’s sheer oddness. Next weekend I’m off to Kilkenny so I’ll be keeping an eye out for Stroan Fountain and its oddly spherical enclosed stone fountain on the way. I also yearn to see the island mini-fort of Gibraltar in the gardens of LarchHill, Co. Kildare.

The Follies Trust say that follies are joyful little buildings that aim to please. I think we need more of them and should rejoice in the ones we have. They are quirky, architecturally fun, and enhance the landscape. It’s claimed that Ireland has more follies per square mile than anywhere else in the world and that makes me ridiculously proud. Have a look at their website for a small selection of photos of follies they’ve visited/restored – places like the pyramid in Co. Mayo, or the Jealous Wall at Belvedere House Mullingar (it is really very convincing in real life).

May your week be full of follies,

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace

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Hello,

Inspiration for today’s words comes, with thanks, from Muriel (a.k.a Mamo) who is a fellow ML (organiser) for NaNoWriMo in Ireland.

Kith is defined as acquaintances, friends, neighbours, and relations. Whereas kin is defined as as relationships via blood, marriage, adoption, or family. There is also the concept of kindred which can mean that you share a passion for something. I think writers are all kindred in some form or other. I love that “kin” includes adoptive relationships. That seems right to me.

Now when you say kith and kin you will actually know there’s a difference!

In other news this week – I have to extend a thank you to Millfield Shopping Centre where I won their Christmas Stocking contest – lots of vouchers for their shops. Excellent timing as I’d spent myself to standstill on Christmas gifts and now I get something for me.

Also, did you know there’s a new writing retreat in the Dublin Mountains? Carousel Creates is a small centre which hosts weekly writing classes as well as one and two day retreats (residential and non) and it has definitely gone on my wishlist for 2013. At the moment they are running a contest to win a spot on one of their retreats.

Until next time, happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace

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Hello,

I’m back from my coastal holiday in the South West of Ireland (meeting a famous dolphin called Fungi in Dingle, crab-fishing in Sneem, and taking a tiny car-ferry to Valentia Island) and in the mood for something nautical this week.

Careen (pronunciation here) means to sway from side perilously – a drunken cyclist might careen comically through a busy fruit market, for example. But its primary meaning is in relation to boats and ships. To careen a boat means to tip it over to show its hull, generally in order to repair it.

As a reluctant land-lubber myself (thanks to a weakness for motion sickness, even on dry land) I tend to careen myself on the decks of boats, but it was worth taking the sea-sickness tablets for that dolphin and the ferry to the island.

As for the land-based element of our trip – well, I think the view from our tiny stone former-coastguard cottage kept up the nautical theme pretty well…

…and the silence was priceless.

Until next time, happy reading, writing and wordfooling,

Grace

 

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Hello,

Regular readers will have noticed my absence last week. We had a family celebration and then visited Disneyland Paris for a few happy days, so I took the week off from wordfooling.

This week’s words should be familiar to most of you. They’re all members of the allium family of plants – garlic, onion and leeks. Not particularly interesting words to say or hear, I admit. They’re on my mind because I need to harvest the leeks from my garden later today.

However they do have something quirky about them – eating them will rush you toward moral depravity! Not because of your bad breath, but because they incite to anger and excessive licentiousness. This is according to such varied sources as Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and Budha.

I shall never look at the humble leek in quite the same light again.

But it won’t stop me eating them.

So until next time, eat alliums with care and happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace

 

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Hello,

It fascinates me how the meaning of a word can change over time. Nice used to mean exact, but is more commonly used to mean pleasant these days, for example. One such word is quaint or quainte. I came across it when reading “The Canterbury Tales” (written in old English) and the glossary said the meaning was “strange” which certainly wasn’t the meaning I knew.

My dictionary tells me that quaint (pronunciation here) is an adjecctive which means “interestingly old-fashioned or odd, curious, whimsical”. Miriam Webster’s online dictionary adds that something quaint is marked by elegant design or is pleasingly unusual.

Perhaps one person’s “strange” is another person’s “pleasingly unusual”?

I certainly encountered plenty of quaintness on my writing retreat to Salterbridge Gatelodge in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford last weekend. It’s a Landmark Trust Ireland property. They restore pieces of unusual architecture which are in danger of disappearing and then rent them out. The rent, and donations, pay for the next restoration project.

I love the idea, having previously stayed in their romantic castle for two, Anne’s Grove, complete with turret stairs and open fire.

Grace at Salterbridge

Salterbridge was the perfect place to hole up and write – there was even an antique writing desk. And it’s not every house that has a hexangonal room in it – I call that quaint.

Even better, it gave me an excuse to drop into The Yarn Room in Ashford on my drive down. I spent a very happy hour in the company of Stephanie there finding lovely yarn, fabric, and ribbons for various crafty projects.

But they do have very quaint birds on very quaint trees in that part of the country…

Quaint birds on a quaint tree

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace

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Hello,

My mind is on yarn this week as I’ve resumed work on my second novel “Hooked” about a diverse group of crafters aged 7 to 77 (including one ghost) who form a knitting group in a small Irish village. They change their lives and their community in the process.

In one of the chapters the group learn how to use plant dyes to create their own coloured yarn. So it seemed perfect to come across a woolly word, well phrase really, to define this week. Wool that is dyed before it is made into fabric retains its colour better. Hence the expression dyed in the wool – meaning unlikely to change one’s colour, or opinion.

I am a dyed in the wool crafter. I was delighted to spot a sign painted on the gable wall of a shop in Recess, Co. Galway last summer. It read “Beer, books, eggs, marble, wool”. That truly is all one could want to purchase in life!

On the same trip we visited the serenely beautiful Brigit’s Garden near Oughterard, Co. Galway. On this visit there was an art and sculpture exhibition in progress, with visitors being encouraged to vote for a People’s Favourite. Mine was, without a doubt, the witty knitted addition to their stone circle garden. What do you think of it?

A Knitted Henge

Until next time, happy reading, writing, and word fooling,

Grace

 

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