This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 10 November 2017

Word To Use Today: dornick.

Most words, like our own dear queen, have fairly obvious relatives. 

A cupboard, for instance, plainly started off being a rather different piece of furniture, and it's not difficult to guess how its meaning evolved.

Some words, however, drop in from Mars: or, in this case, Belgium, which is, after all, very much the same thing.


Can you guess what it is? 

Even though a dornick is two quite separate things, almost certainly not.

The oldest dornick is a kind of heavy and very expensive damask cloth (damask is the sort of fabric that has patterns on it made by weaving in extra-shiny thread). Traditionally, dornick is used for curtains and vestments (especially the cloaks priests wear).

Something like this:

Gothic Chasuble & Stole - Gold 'Gothic' silk damask - Chasubles - Vestments

The other sort of dornick word you only find in the USA. 

This sort of dornick is as different as possible from the first one, because it means a small stone, pebble, or occasionally, coin. There used to be an expression as hard as dornick to describe a tough man:


The two sorts of dornicks are all alone - they aren't even relations of each other.

So perhaps we should adopt them.

Word To Use Today: dornick. The cloth dornick is named after the Belgian town now called Tournai, where it was manufactured. The stone dornick probably comes from the Irish Gaelic dornōg, from dorn, which means hand.

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