History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

15 November 2006

Ten Funky Medieval Words

ACK! I nearly forgot today was my day to post. My bad. So this is short and furious:

Ten Funky Medieval Words

regardant: a heraldic animal with a raised head turned to the left side of a shield

gong farmer: the one who cleaned the privy shaft

fermail: a fastener for a tunic, gown or cape at the garment's throat

racket: a reedy-sounding wind instrument

grulsh: a thick, squat, fat person or animal (Scotish)

knave: manservant

Foddercorn: the grain a villein had to provide to feed the lord's horses

knidget: a mischievous, saucy boy or girl (Scotish)

disattire: undress


English Through the Ages by William Brohaugh
Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections Castle
The Scots Dialect Dictionary
Medieval Wordbook by Madeleine Pelner Cosman


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooo I like knidget! The first time I read an Elizabeth Mansfield book, which was my first experience with Regency Romance, I discoved widgeon and goose and "making a cake of oneself." I fell in love with the language. How fun. And now I know what to call the pin I use on my cloak, a fermail. At least, that is if I can expand the definition to include a cloak. :-)

~~ Judy T

4:35 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

My favorite is "foddercorn." The leavings of milling grains...interestingly, I think I read somewhere that foddercorn was often used to bake a sort of bread fed to medieval horses.


6:23 PM  
Blogger Anne Mallory said...

Jobs I don't want - gong farmer!

10:56 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is too freaken funny. Love the words, Jessica. I'm so with Anne about not wanting to be a gong farmer! LOL!

7:38 AM  
Blogger annulla said...

Oh, dear. I thought I heard someone refer to me as "girlish" but now, thanks to my new-found vocabularly words, I fear that he was really calling me "grulsh."

11:36 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

One of my favourite medieaval resources - which writing Regencies I never have occasion to use! is a little book called An Exaltation of Larks. The title alone gives me goosebumps, I love it so much. It is a compilation of what we now think of as collective nouns, such as a pride of lions, a litter of pups, a shrewdness of apes, a skulk of foxes, or an exaltation of larks. Originally these terms were used in connection with venery or the Chase. There's something about it, the use of language, the wit and sheer effervescence of it all that gets me in every time I take it off the shelf. It's the sort of book that you NEVER permit to leave the house. A real DIK.

As for rotten jobs no sane 21st century person would want; has the TV program The Worst Jobs in History been aired in North America yet? I'm sort of assuming it hasn't or you'd all be referring to it. It's a UK effort and the presenter, Tony Robinson, checks out the worst jobs going at different periods. Personally I felt sorry for the chap who had to wipe Henry VIII's bottom. DH had to be revived with burnt feathers over the demonstration of how to make violin strings and the kids want to buy the whole series on DVD! I'm not sure if they want to try fulling, which involves treading woollen fabric in vats of pee to make it nice and soft (ick!), or making violin strings which mean I'll have to keep a close count on my sheep:( And I promise, I'm not making any of this up!

Elizabeth Rolls

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for listing your resources!!! I've just ordered them all so I'll have some things that I want under the Christmas tree ;) And I Love the theme of this Blog!!

7:01 AM  

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