Wondrous Words Wednesday
I’m reading King Lear, the Oxford School edition. Shakespeare is always good for a few new words!
The Earl of Gloucester (in observing that the king appears to value his two son-in-laws equally): …for equalities are so weigh’d that curiosity in neither can make choice of either’s moiety.
The notes say this phrase means “their shares (which are meant to be equal) are in fact so evenly balanced that no amount of careful scrutiny (‘curiosity’) in comparing them could make either duke prefer the other’s part (‘moiety’).” My dictionary says ‘moiety’ means “half” so that makes sense.
King Lear (describing the land he grants to his oldest daughter):
With shadowy forests and with champains rich’d
With plenteous rivers and wide-skirted meads
According to the notes, champains are open plains and wide-skirted meads are extensive meadows.
King Lear (disinheriting Cordelia):
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Hold thee from this for ever.
My dictionary (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1979) says propinquity means “nearness of blood,” synonymous with ‘kinship.’
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.”
Oh Joy, you’re good. I used to copy new words and keep lists until I remembered them all. I’m not sure when I stopped doing that. These days if I come across a lovely word I remember it. Has to be a useable word though or it’s tough to remember. English is such a tricky language, and especially when one had three phonetic languages as firsts.
Thanks! for sharing this, I love to learn new meanings of words.
It’s been years since I’ve read Shakespeare but I always needed a dictionary handy when I did. Propinquity is familiar but I couldn’t define it.
What some great Olde English words there, all of them new to me.
Propinquity is the one that I hope to be able to remember, but only until such a time as I actually have the opportunity to use it … then it wil escape me completely!!
A great post and thanks for sharing.
You’re quite right about Shakespeare being such a rich source of new words, he’s said to have introduced thousands of new words to English. I find reading plays rather hard going, so I think you’re rather brave to take on King Lear. I knew propinquity (although think of it just as proximity) and moiety, but the others are new for me too.
I’m still too afraid to read Shakespeare in the original — I did know “propinquity” but would have a hard time understanding the whole 🙁 Still working on it, though.
Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting my blog during the read-a-thon last weekend!