• Etymons

    Points

    In the post about aglets, I mentioned that according to the OED, in earlier eras, aglets were called points. According to the AHD, under definition 35 for point, a point is “A ribbon or cord with a metal tag at the end, used to fasten clothing in the 16th and 17th centuries.” The following bit from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Act 1, scene 5, between Feste the Jester or “clown,” and the maid Maria, refers to points. Feste has returned, late, long after he was expected: Maria Yet you will be hanged for being so long absent; or, to be turned away, is not that as good as a hanging to…

  • Etymons

    Aglet

    An aglet according to the AHD is 1. A tag or sheath, as of plastic, on the end of a lace, cord, or ribbon to facilitate its passing through eyelet holes.2. A similar device used for an ornament. The OED s.v. aglet offers: a. A tag attached to the end of a lace, originally of metal and now also of plastic, intended primarily to make it easier to thread through the eyelet holes, but also developed as an ornament. The aglet is that small plastic sleeve on the end of your shoelace. Sometimes aglet refers to ornaments at the end of a lace, especially on shirts or other items of…

  • Etymons

    Haggis

    If you mention to anyone, at all, that you’re going to visit Scotland, you’re bound to be warned about Scotland’s national dish; haggis. Haggis is, according to the AHD “A Scottish dish consisting of a mixture of the minced heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep or calf mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the slaughtered animal.” The closest thing I can compare with haggis to in terms of standard American dishes is stuffing, made with giblets. People tend to think of haggis around the 25th of January, the date reserved to celebrate the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns. All over the…

  • Calendar,  Medieval manuscripts

    January from The Golf Book

    The Golf Book (British Library Additional MS 24098) is a book of hours featuring the work of Simon Bening and his Bruges workshop, where the MS was produced sometime in the 1540s. The image for January (f.18v–19) features a snowy winter scene. In the background, a windmill works, and people are on the steps of a small church. Beyond the windmill and a church is a small figure on horseback and another kneeling in the snow. A man and a woman stand chatting in the path, near a bit of gate that looks very like a modern farm gate. In the foreground, inside a house with a smoking chimney and…