Wondrous Words Wednesday

button for Wondrous Words Wednesday meme

My word this week came from the DK guidebook, Eyewitness Travel: Dublin on page 14 in the history section about Richard de Clare, aka Strongbow, who was sent in 1169 from England to handle feuds in Ireland. He married the daughter of Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster.

When MacMurrough died in 1171, Strongbow was in line to succeed him. Henry II sent an army to Ireland to check his ambitions, in part by recognizing Strongbow’s suzerainty over the province of Leinster.

According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1979), suzerainty comes from French and means “the dominion of a suzzerain: OVERLORDSHIP.” A suzzerain is “a superior feudal lord to whom fealty is due: OVERLORD.”

So, I think the sentence is telling us that a way Henry II kept Strongbow in check was to allow him to have power in one region but limiting his ability, and therefore desire, to expand his influence. Do you agree?

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog. Kathy says: “Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.”

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

About Joy Weese Moll

a librarian writing about books
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9 Responses to Wondrous Words Wednesday

  1. That’s a mouthful! It’s a great word but I don’t think I’ll have a chance to use it any time soon.

  2. Yvonne says:

    Hi Joy,

    There is a whole plethora of these obscure ‘Olde English’ words and whilst they are great for a bit of fun, or as a jaw dropping throwaway word in a conversation, I am so glad that we don’t use them any more.

    Having said that, some of the modern day words and meanings, such as those found in the Urban Dictionary, can also leave me cold and often pretty disgusted.

    Funnily enough, I came across your word just a few weeks ago and had to look it up, as I had no idea what it meant!


  3. Interesting word and the book sounds really interesting.

  4. Libby says:

    I think you ate right about the King’s intentions. I guess we do that even now. Throw someone a bone to sort of keep them happy (!)

  5. Louise says:

    What a great word to find in a travel book! You really never know where the next great word will pop up.

  6. Satia says:

    Great word and no doubt an attempt at appeasing a possible foe. Don’t we even see that in politics when a candidate chooses a running mate who is obviously meant to either balance out the primary candidate or draw in a demographic group that the main candidate would not otherwise inspire to vote? Or am I being skeptical about politics again?

  7. Anne Kimball says:

    Good morning! You have been nominated for the Liebster Award!

    Don’t let it go to your head….


  8. Gerry Wilson says:


    I love the way you’re bringing me back to the basics or writing on your site! It is, after all, about words, and about reading. Thanks for what you’re doing here.

    Congratulations! I’m nominating you for a Liebster Blog Award! Please go to my post to find out details (there are a few rules for passing it on): http://bit.ly/IN01vB

  9. Gerry Wilson says:

    Uh, oh!* So sorry. There’s a problem with the link in my Liebster Award comment! Here’s the correct link to my blog and post: http://gerrygwilson.com/

    *red-faced embarrassment!

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