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2958.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 3:52 am Reply with quote

banquet n

The English word banquet comes directly from French where it is a diminutive of banc, a seat or bench.

The French do use banquet to mean a 'banquet in the modern English sense, but its principal meaning is simply 'dinner'. For a really lavish feast, in the English sense of banquet, the French throw un festin.

Since the early 16th century, 'banquet' commonly meant in English almost the opposite of its modern meaning: 'a slight repast between meals' (1509) hence 'a running-banquet', or 'a course of sweetmeats, fruit and wine' (1523) served either as a separate entertainment, or as a continuation of the main meal, in other words 'dessert' (or 'pudding' as my mother would have it). In the latter case, this would be served in a separate place known as the banqueting room.

The OED has a reference from Caxton dated 1483 supposedly using the word 'banquet' in the modern sense of 'a huge feast', but the quotation by no means makes clear that this actually is the meaning, and the dictionary admits that possibly other senses 'will be found to have preceded' the modern usage.

The derivation makes this logical, and (surely) probable.

We can take it that a mediaeval 'banquet' was more like going off to the lounge to 'sit soft' with some grapes, chocs and coffee than Stuffede Bitterne Withe All Ye Trymminges Atop A Pyle Of Thrushyes,Storkes,Herones and Walrusses.


Last edited by JumpingJack on Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:00 am; edited 1 time in total

2959.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 3:56 am Reply with quote

banquette n

French also uses banquette in a similar way to modern English to mean a covered bench-like seat in a train, car or restaurant.

The historical English meaning, however, is the walkway behind a rampart, or half-way up the side of a trench, on which the soldiers stand to shoot.

It can also mean the raised footway on a road-bridge.

s: OED

2960.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 3:59 am Reply with quote

Birmania is the Italian for Burma.

s: CID

2961.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:13 am Reply with quote

barbles n
The tingling bumples caused by nettle-stings.


2962.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:18 am Reply with quote

According to the Dictionary of Archaic Words a bardolf is 'an ancient dish in cookery'.


2963.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:23 am Reply with quote

barm-fellys n
The leather aprons worn by blacksmiths.

s: DAW

2964.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:32 am Reply with quote

balkers n
People who stand on high places on the coast pointing out to fishermen where the herring shoals are.

On top of Burgh Island in South Devon there is a "huer's hut" which has a view of the whole of Bigbury Bay, from where the huer kept watch for shoals of pilchards and directed fishermen as to where to cast their nets. Burgh Island is the place with the Art Deco hotel that you have to get to by sea tractor at high tide.

Also, on "banquet" as "pudding": "Our first and second course being three-score dishes at one boord, and after that, always a banquet." (John Taylor in Pennyles Pilgrimage, 1618, quoted in Brewer).

2965.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:46 am Reply with quote

bartizan n

A small overhanging turret projecting from the angles at the top of a tower, or from a parapet.

He mounted the narrow stair,
To the bartizan seat.
SIR WALTER SCOTT Eve of St John, 1801

Sir Walter Scott uses the word bartizan several times in his romantic historical oeuvres, but charming though it seems, he was the first person ever to do so and it is a spurious 'modern antique' unknown in the time to which it refers.

Sir W. probably adapted it from a 17th century Scottish spelling mistake (1651) which has bertisene in mistake for bratticing, 'a battlemented (usually temporary) parapet, made of wood'.

s: DAW s:OED

2966.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:48 am Reply with quote

Thanks Flash, top man.

Glad someone's awake...

2967.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:52 am Reply with quote

barvel n

A short leather apron worn by washerwomen*, otherwise known as a 'slabbering bib'.


*particularly Kentish washerwomen. Whether slabbering bibs were worn by Danish washerwomen such as Hans Christian Anderson's mother, or Russian washerwomen such as Stalin's mum, is not recorded

2968.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:54 am Reply with quote

basel n
A coin abolished by Henry II in 1158.


2969.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:58 am Reply with quote

Basil-hampers n
A girl whose clothes fall awkwardly about her feet.


Also, a shortarse who takes little steps and doesn't get about very fast.

2970.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 4:59 am Reply with quote

Basoning-furnace n
A furnace used in the manufacture of hats.

s: DAW

Eh, what? Excuse me?

2971.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 5:02 am Reply with quote

bassinate n
A kind of fish," like unto men in shape".

(Mentioned By Holinshed).



2972.  Tue Dec 09, 2003 5:06 am Reply with quote

bastard n
A kind of Spanish wine, available in either white or brown.

What would you do with a Spanish bastard?



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