This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Word Not To Use Today: margrave.

I'm not saying that margraves don't go around, as their name suggests, knocking the heads off stone angels on mausoleums (yes, yes, all right, mausolea, if you must), flinging handfuls of green glass gravel around cemeteries, or obscuring the final E on tombstones bearing the legend SHE WAS THINE, but a margrave is, technically, a sort of German nobleman below the rank of count.

I've never met one, but some margraves can make their eyes go crossed:

File:Markgrafen Albrecht von Brandenburg-Ansbach (FR026).jpg
Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

and some of them wear very bad toupees and like to dress up as woodlice:

File:Philipp William margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt.jpg
painting by Antoine Pesny of Philipp William, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt. 

Altogether, it makes me feel that they should have a much jollier name.

Word Not To Use Today: margrave. This word comes from the Middle Dutch markgrave, which means count of the march. A march in this case is a frontier district and the word is the same as the mark that's a line drawn on a piece of paper.

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