• Uncategorized

    Dray

    A dray or drey is a squirrel’s nest. Dray is also sometimes applied to a nest of squirrels, or a litter of squirrels. The OED s.v. dray offers “A squirrel’s nest” with the following in context citations: 1607   E. Topsell Hist. Fovre-footed Beastes 497   They..make their nestes, like the draies of squirrels. 1627   M. Drayton Quest of Cynthia in Battaile Agincourt 141   The nimble Squirrell..Her mossy Dray that makes. The etymology of dray isn’t clear; it’s generally associated with the dray that means a sled or cart that lacks wheels, and is thus dragged. That dray derives from Old English dragan to draw; the OED suggests…

  • Etymons

    Flotsam and Jetsam

    flotsam n. Goods floating on the surface of a body of water after a shipwreck or after being cast overboard to lighten the ship. Discarded or unimportant things: “Keyrings, bookmarks … gum, scissors, paper clips … pencils and pads stolen from various hotels: all this detritus, this flotsam of a life being lived at full throttle” (David Leavitt). People who are considered to be worthless or to have been rejected by society. flotsam AHD jetsam n. Goods that are cast overboard from a ship, especially in an attempt to lighten the ship, and that sink to the bottom of a body of water. Discarded odds and ends. AHD jetsam  …

  • Etymons

    Dormouse

    There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head. “Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,” thought Alice; ”only, as it’s asleep, I suppose it doesn’t mind.” —Lewis Carroll. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Chapter VII. A Mad Tea-Party.   Technically, the dormouse is a small omnivorous rodent, a native of Eurasia and Africa, of the family the family Gliridae. The dormouse featured in Lewis Caroll’s The Adventures…

  • Calendar,  Etymons

    February

      The standard dictionary definition for February is very like this one from the AHD: The second month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. Modern English February is ultimately derived from Latin; the Latin name for the second month, the name used by Romans, is februarius mensis, “purification month,” or, more literally, “month of purification,” the last month of the ancient (pre-450 B.C.E.) Roman calendar. The month was named after the Roman feast of purification, held on the ides of the month, with the new year starting in the following month. The etymology of February is a little complicated, in that Modern English February is derived from Latin Februarius,…

  • Calendar,  Medieval manuscripts

    February from the Très Riches Heures

    The calendar image for February in books of hours, like those for January, often features someone sitting by the fire, but calendar pages for February are rife with scenes related to the chill of deepest winter. Typically they feature the piscine astrological signs for Pisces. The saints’ days for February include St. Ignatious, and St. Bridg This image from the February calendar page in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry in the Museé Cluny shows the labors of a fairly typical winter day. This calendar page features an interesting technique in that the house on the bottom left is a cutaway or cross section that reveals the inside. A…