I'm not a great wordsmith, I have never been someone to throw around obscure words in order to impress. It is not something that impresses me, and I've always imagined that others would feel the same.
However some quite ordinary words have managed to pass me by. Even with my extensive education, certain words that should have been part of my everyday vocabulary have simply managed to escape.
I remember well when I first saw the word 'ampersand' written somewhere, I could hardly believe that I'd got to adulthood without ever having either seen or heard it somewhere or other. It seemed a word that I should have known; and would have been pleased to know.
I've now found another. It may not be a word for daily use, but there it was on the front page of this weekend's Sunday Times, and it stood out like a sore thumb. Talking of Football (well they had to didn't they) someone mentioned waving a flag aloft 'like a holy gonfalon'.
Now, I don't know if you know what a 'gonfalon' is; but I didn't, so let me tell you. It seems that it's a type of flag or banner held from a crossbar; not unlike those Trades union banners one sees on marches, with streamers or tails.
I don't suppose it's a word that I shall be employing too often, apart from anything I don't like the sound of it. But at least if someone sidles up to me and asks "Would you like to see my gonfalon?", I won't have to slap his/her face. A simple 'no thank you' will suffice.
I have never heard gonfalon and it isn't in my ancient dictionary either, so thanks for telling us what it is.ReplyDelete
It may be a good idea to try to forget it. I quite expect I will.Delete
I can't believe I'd never heard of ampersand either. And when I went to online Thesaurus they didn't have any idea either. Thankfully google came to the rescue. Such an everyday, now, thing we use with such a wonderful name.ReplyDelete
I love learning about delightful sounding words. There are many which pop up which I would love to use daily but it really would sound pompous
I remember being quite amazed when I learned the word 'ampersand'. I couldn't understand why I hadn't been taught it at school.Delete
These types of words appear in cryptic crosswords (Telegraph) and I hope I remember Gonfalon if ever I need it. One we learnt recently was Brouhaha. Never heard of it before and it appeared in the crossword and a sit-com in the same week.ReplyDelete
I had a genius friend who used to do the Times Crossword in about 15 mins. One day I found him struggling over the final clue which he passed to me and said "if you can get that one I'll be amazed". I immediately gave him the answer which was 'Spraint'... an Otter's dropping. A total miracle that I just happened to have seen the word somewhere. He was mighty impressed.Delete
I thought brouhaha was quite a common word.Delete
I have never heard gonfalon either. I just looked it up in Chambers and learnt that a gonfaloner is one who waves the gonfalon. I expect the word will crop up all the time now. It doesn't have any English origins, is more French/German/Italian.ReplyDelete
It stood-out from the page, it was almost the first word I read in the particular article.Delete
I knew '&' but is there a word for '@' ?ReplyDelete
Does that translate for all languages?Delete
Apparently "ampersat", "arobase", "asperand", "at", or "at symbol", and in French, "petit escargot"!Delete
I love learning new vocabulary so thank you for the gonfalon.ReplyDelete
I hope you can find some use for it.Delete
I think I learnt ampersand at 16 when I learnt to type.ReplyDelete
Lady M has just told me that if I'd learned to type, I would have learned the word much earlier.Delete
I spotted gonfalon Cro on Sunday -never heard it before either, As for 'brou-ha-ha' - that is a word I use quite often.ReplyDelete
I'm glad someone else spotted it. It leapt off the page at me.Delete
Here is one to extend your vocabulary. It does roll off one's tongue so very deliciously. In future, and to vary how you classify yours truly, you may call me "nincompoop".ReplyDelete
Have I not already done so?Delete
Ha-ha! A sweet post Cro. The English language is so big that nobody can possibly be familiar with every word within it.ReplyDelete
When we stop learning, we might as well give up!Delete
Never heard it before. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Now try and use it. I bet you won't.Delete
Gonfalon is a new word to me as well.ReplyDelete
Ebullient is a recent word I've learned through a word search for enthusiasm.
I'm not alone then, that is some compensation.Delete
Gonfalon is new to me. I long knew & but didn't know ampersand until I was well into adulthood.ReplyDelete
Same as me. I think I must have been about 25 when I discovered the word itself.Delete
The only context I've known gonfalon in, is in the name of a hymn tune Gonfalon Royal, the words of which are "The royal banners forward go", which would make sense. It's a good, noble sounding melody when sung with a bit of gusto- available on youtube in various versions.ReplyDelete
That's interesting. I shall have a look later. Thanks.Delete
Bahhaaaaaa! What a great post!ReplyDelete
Debby, I do my best!Delete
I think I can be 100% certain it os not a word that I have uttered in the last 78 years and am unlikely to utter in the next 78.ReplyDelete
I doubt very much that I will be able to find a slot for it either.Delete
Oo, I love new words! I'd never before encountered gonfalon and I'm not sure when I'll ever get to use it but it's going into the vault anyway. The English language is the gift that keeps on giving!ReplyDelete
I wonder why the writer didn't use the simple word 'banner'. I suppose he was trying to impress!Delete
Because the banner is what hangs from the gonfalon.Delete