Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday 21

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at the Bermuda Onion where you "can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative!

I am re-reading and reading for the first time, some classic children's novels for the Midnight Garden's Classic YA Readalong, so I have some words from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, which is this month's book ...

This is the forest primeval. 
The murmuring pines and hemlocks, 
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, 
indistinct in the twilight, 
Stand like Druids of eld.

1.Old age.
2. Former times; the past.
Origin: Old English ieldu, eldu, of Germanic origin; related to elder and old. First Known Use: before 12th century.

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The boys, from eight to fourteen years of age, looked alike in straggling knickerbockers and broken-peaked caps.

knickerbockers   /ˈnikərˌbäkər /
1 (knickerbockers) North American Loose-fitting trousers gathered at the knee or calf.
2 (Knickerbocker) A New Yorker.
  2.1 A descendant of the original Dutch settlers in New York.
Origin mid 19th century (sense 2): named after Diedrich Knickerbocker, pretended author of W. Irving's History of New York (1809). Sense 1 is said to have arisen from the resemblance of knickerbockers to the breeches worn by Dutchmen in Cruikshank's illustrations in Irving's book.

East Broadway: Newsboys Early 1900's (Image Source)

Knickerbocker Village Newsies
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She stared at the bearded men in their alpaca skull caps and silkolene coats and wondered what made their eyes so small and fierce. 

silkolene or silkaline or silkoline
a soft, thin cotton fabric with a smooth finish, for curtains, bedspreads, garment linings, etc.
Origin: 1895–1900, Americanism; silk + -aline, alteration of -oline, as in crinoline. 

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Since it was essential that a masquerade costume be décolleté, she had devised a backless costume, the front cut to display her over-full bust and with one long sleeve to cover that right arm.

/dāˌkäləˈtā, ˌdekələ-/ (also décolletée)
(Of a woman’s dress or top) having a low neckline.
Back to top A low neckline on a woman’s dress or top.
Origin: mid 19th century: French, past participle of décolleter 'expose the neck'.

Yes - I more or less knew this one because I know décolletage - but I was unfamiliar with this form. 

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It was made of a purple satin sheath with layers of cerise tarleton underskirts.

/səˈrēs/ or / /sə-ˈrēz/
1. A bright or deep red color
2. A moderate to dark red color
Origin: mid 19th century from French, literally 'cherry'. According to Wikipedia the distinction between the colors cerise and cherry red, as described by the 1930 book A Dictionary of Color, is that the color cerise has always been depicted as a somewhat bluer color than the actual color of a fresh uncooked cherry, which is denoted by a different redder color called cherry red. The color cerise is a depiction of the somewhat bluer color of a cooked cherry, such as the cherries in a cherry pie.

also tar·la·tan  (tärl-tn, -l-tn)
A thin, stiffly starched muslin in open plain weave.
Origin: French tarlatane, alteration of earlier tarnatane.

Okay - I tried to try to put together a picture of this dress but it started to make my eyes ache. The left sleeve is actually supposed to be pea green chiffon - and there is more. That dress sounds painful to behold !  It is supposed to be their conception of what a Klondike dance hall girl would wear.  Urk. So I basically knew what the words meant, but the mind apparently reeled at trying to work out what this dress would look like and refused to make a picture.

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Hildy had brassy blond hair, wore a garnet colored chiffon bow around her neck, chewed sen-sen, knew all the latest songs and was a good dancer.

Sen-Sen was the original breath freshener. They were small hard candy pieces with a licorice flavor. (They look like little black squares.) Sen-Sen was developed in the late 1800s by T.B. Dunn and Co., perfume dealers in Rochester, New York. Then produced by F&F Foods and discontinued in July 2013....

The origin of the name Sen-Sen is apparently lost to history. In Japan "sen-sen" means glistening, shiny or bright, but there is no documentation to indicate any connection between these meanings and the product. The ingredients of Sen-Sen are imported from Bulgaria, France, Turkey, Greece, Italy and some almost inaccessible regions of Asia. The product is still made on some of the original equipment that manufactured the product in the late 1800's. (Source)

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There was a bakery store to one side of it which sold beautiful charlotte russes with red candied cherries on their whipped cream tops for those who were rich enough to buy. 

charlotte russes 
"By the time the Charlotte Russe had made its way to New York in the early 20th century—especially to sweet shops in Brooklyn and the Bronx—the confection had taken a dramatically simplified form. There, it was made from a thin disk of sponge cake topped with a lofty spiral of whipped cream and crowned with a Maraschino cherry." (source - cool article with a recipe!) 

Told you I would get back to food :-)


  1. Eld makes sense re. elder. I like the sound of the 'charlotte russes'. Plenty of new words here for me with sen-sen, tarleton and silkolene.

  2. I like the desert. Also like that cerise. Must be a pretty color. Had fun with all your words. Thanks.

  3. Two of these words I heard of before, sen-sen and knickerbockers.


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