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 June 2012

Word To Use Today: caparison.

Now here's a word which breathes colour and romance.


To begin with it was to do with clothes for animals - splendid clothes, decorated so richly that you forgot that the whole idea of clothes for animals is ridiculous.

(Though I must admit the fashion for covering up war horses was sensible when they were campaigning under a burning sun. In those cases it was generally the campaigns which were ridiculous.)

Nowadays, animals are more often caparisoned for religious reasons than for war:

File:Thrippunithura-Elephants2 crop.jpg
Photo by Kjrajesh

These elephants were taking part in the Sree Poornathrayesa temple festival at Thrippunithura, Kerala, South India.

But usually it's not actually animals that get to be magnificent because we can caparison ourselves, too, in rich and elaborate clothes and ornaments:

This gorgeous drawing is, of course, by Aubrey Beardsley.

We can caparison ourselves to dance:


And to party:

Mardi Gras Carnival Procession

And do you know, I think the world would be a brighter place if, occasionally, we did.

Dress up Friday, anyone?

Word To Use Today: caparison. Don't just get dressed, caparison yourself, just for the sheer pleasure of the word. Caparison comes via France from Spain, where the Old Spanish caparazón meant saddlecloth and was probably something to do with capa, which meant cape.

No, do caparison yourself. You must have a splendid tie or a sparkly brooch somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. This was a word that crossed my mind when I saw all those splendid horses at the Jubilee last Tuesday. Marvellous word. Actually, lots of the Royal ladies were also caparisoned, weren't they? To say nothing of the spectators. It's not something I do often but I will do so at the first opportunity. Meanwhile, thanks for divine Aubrey Beardsley!


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