This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Word To Use Today: dowsabel.

This poor word is almost universally neglected. 

Dowsabel...I suppose it does sound a bit down-trodden and dreary, but it means something lovely, because it means sweetheart. A female sweetheart, that is.

I say that dowsabel is almost universally neglected, because there is one place where dowsabel is still heard, and that's in Shakespeare's farce A Comedy of Errors.

What happens when you appear in a strange town and, unbeknownst to you, you have a long-lost twin in the place?

File:Comedy of Errors-Dromios.pdf
Photo: Smatprt

Well, nowadays you make a documentary (and with any luck a fortune with it). But back in Shakespeare's day you just ended up in trouble. Lots and lots of trouble
I mean, just think: what if your long-lost twin happens to be romantically entangled?

Poor old Dromio.

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE: ...Adriana! that is where...Dowsabel did claim me for her husband


Anyway, if it so happens that you're lucky enough not to have a long-lost twin around the place, then dowsabel can still be a jolly useful word. Men, a gentle murmer of you are my lovely dowsabel in an appropriate ear, and (if necessary) an explanation that it's from Shakespeare and means sweetheart, will melt all but the stoniest female heart (and if her heart's that stony I should clear out straight away, while you've got the chance).

Children: surely any quotation from Shakespeare will prove good for a few Brownie points.

As for the, I suppose if you're lucky you might get a theatre trip out of the word, mightn't you. Or at least a snuggly evening in with chocolate and a DVD.

Good luck!

Word To Use Today: dowsabel. This word comes from the Latin girl's name Dulcibella, from dulcis sweet and bellus beautiful.



  1. I love this word, and the name Dulcibella.
    I think they could both do with reviving.

    1. Dulcibella? Perhaps you're right. Dulcie is an old-lady name as far as I'm concerned, but then several of those have come to life again - Ruby, Phoebe, etc - though sadly the linguistically finest, Ethel (with the same name as the oe ligature), has yet to awaken.