Today’s word is from Wordfoolery friend, Sheena, a crossword fiend who stumbled upon bosky when looking up umbrageous. That sentence sent me scurrying for my dictionary. Well played, S!
yesterday’s bosky jewels
Umbrageous means “creating or providing shade”. You might have an umbrageous tree or tall friend. It can also describe somebody who is wont to take umbrage or offense. Your tall friend could be umbrageous in two senses.
Umbrageous entered English in the 1500s via French, originally from umbra, meaning “shade” in Latin, which does give a whole new authenticity to the recent expression of “throwing shade”. As someone who burns easily in the sunlight I wouldn’t take umbrage if someone threw shade at me.
This week’s word is actually bosky (pronunciation available here) because it sounds so quirky and I’d never happened upon it before. An area is described as bosky if it is covered by trees or bushes. Apparently in Middle English there were three ways to spell bush – bush, busk, and bosk. Busk is sometimes used in dialects, making me wonder if buskers originally serenaded passersby from a shrub. Bosk died out but not before giving us the root (pun intended) for the bosky adjective.
In spring, which is trying to surge in these parts, woodland flowers like snowdrops, crocus, and bluebells take advantage of the absent leaves in deciduous bosky areas to bloom without their umbrageous shade. Watch carefully when walking this week and you may be rewarded with glimpses of bosky jewels as I was yesterday.
Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling.
p.s. Did you hear the news that Neil Gaiman is writing a sequel to “Neverwhere”? I’m smiling today.
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Yesterday, the 1st of February, was the first day of spring in Ireland. Unlike most of our near neighbours who declare this on the 1st of March, we like to march to our own drum and celebrate the feast day of St. Brigid (in itself based on earlier fertility and fire goddess stories) and celebrate spring on the same day.
While the muddy ground today is solid with frost and the puddles are iced, I can see signs of the spring around my garden easily – my daughter’s first ever snowdrop is blooming, the bluebells have their leaves up, and the garlic I planted last November has sprung up almost overnight. It will be some time before temperatures rise further and I’ve yet to spot a lamb in the nearby fields, but certainly something fresh is stirring in the air and even if more winter storms lie ahead, I like the idea that if we believe it is spring, then it is spring.
This week’s word is vernalagnia and it means a romantic mood brought on by spring. I came across it on various online sites including this one.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find it in any mainstream dictionaries and I suspect it’s an invented word. Vernal means related to the spring, as in the vernal equinox. Having said that, I rather like it and anybody who takes a springtime walk in the countryside will be well aware of the romantic moods of the wildlife around them. There’s a certain wild urgency to the birdsong for a start.
So until next week, I wish you a romantic spring,
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