Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday 31

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!"
Pot luck words from the past week ... 

Our bone samples come from two cemeteries excavated in the town of Puerto de Mazarrón, dated from the 4th to the 6th centuries AD on the basis of archaeological and numismatic criteria. 

From Wikipedia: Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. The discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the exchange of goods.

So - I actually did know what this meant but it was so out of context that I was confused and wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing something. It really does just mean that they dated the grave sites based on archaeological context as well as the coins that they found. I did find out that there is a really weird relationship between archeology and numismatics though. They evolved as disciplines separately so numismatists and archeologists can find themselves at odds. Also, numismatists are not the same as coin collectors - numismatists are interested in historical context, trade, etc. while coin collectors are basically interested in the coins themselves as objects of value.

Coins found in the tomb of the late Roman site of La Molineta in Mazarrón.

"A little pourboire. I merely reminded Sir Aubrey of all we had been to each other, and he wanted me to have it for old times; sake."

pourboire  /po͝orˈbwär/
A gratuity; a tip.
 Origin French, from pour boire, literally '(money) for drinking'.

   -- ** -- ** --

"That satinwood commode belonged to Lord Hutching. Eve bought it from the antique shop next to Parker's place..."

Because clearly the first definition that comes to mind is has got to be wrong. 

commode /kəˈmōd/
1: A piece of furniture containing a concealed chamber pot.
   1.1: North American A toilet.
   1.2: North American historical A movable washstand.

2:  a woman's ornate cap popular in the late 17th and early 18th centuries 

3: chest of drawers or chiffonier of a decorative type popular in the 18th century.

Origin mid 18th century (sense 2): from French, literally 'convenient, suitable', from Latin commodus. sense 1 dates from the early 19th century.

So in this case we are speaking of definition 3 - a chest of drawers.

Late 18th Century Sheraton period satinwood serpentine commode/chest of drawers.
The top inlaid with a rose and banded in padouk. Circa 1785.

chiffonier  \ˌshi-fə-ˈnir\
Origin French chiffonnier, from chiffon 
First Known Use: 1765

variant spelling padauk

1: Timber from a tropical tree of the pea family, resembling rosewood.

2: The large hardwood tree of the Old World tropics that is widely grown for this timber. Some kinds yield a red dye that is used for religious and ritual purposes.

Genus Pterocarpus, family Leguminosae: three species, in particular African padauk (P. soyauxii)
Origin mid 19th century: from Burmese.

Padauk wood

Pterocarpus macrocarpus (Burma Padauk) 
But I can't resist definition 2 of commode as well ...

More precisely, a commode is the wire frame over which the curls are arranged, piled up in high masses over the forehead in a hairstyle called a fontange, or frelange. Technically, fontanges are only part of the assembly, referring to the ribbon bows which support the frelange. The frelange was supported by a wire framework called a commode.

Ugh. It looks terribly uncomfortable to me.


  1. Commode and chiffonier, I have already come across but the others are new to me.

  2. Holy Moly! What a leap from a covering for a chamber pot to a wire cage to pile your hair on!!!! I have a friend that uses the word commode to mean a modern day toilet.

  3. I also knew commode and chiffonier but not the others.

  4. You found a lot of great words! My mother actually has an old commode that belonged to her mother so I knew that one.

  5. I knew all but pourboire. That's an interesting word, but don't you think it's easier to just say tip?


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