This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 8 September 2017

Word To Use Today: cordwainer.

A hay wain carries hay:

John Constable The Hay Wain.jpg
Painting by John Constable, of course. (Not that you can see any actual hay, but then that's probably because this isn't actually a hay wain at all, but is probably a wood wain or farm cart. A hay wain would need higher sides to stop the hay falling off.)

and wainscot is wooden panelling on the interior walls of a house:

File:Hohensalzburg Castle 42.jpg
Hohensaltzburg Castle, photo by Gryffindor

so what does a cordwainer do?

Now if you think these analogies are going to turn out to be a load of old cobblers, then you are quite right - though you are possibly wrong about cobblers.

A cordwainer is a shoemaker, or a worker in the sort of very fine leather for which Cordóba is famous; a cobbler, originally, tended to mend (not necessarily make) shoes.

I don't know why that piece of information is so vastly satisfying: but it is, isn't it.

Word To Use Today: the word wain comes from the Old English wægn; wainscot comes from the Middle Low German wagenschot, perhaps from wagen, wagon + schot, planking, related to the German Scheit, piece of wood. Cordwainer is what's left of the word Cordóba once the English had stopped mangling it.

No comments:

Post a comment