pożyczki oddłużeniowe dla rolników kredyty bez bik wadowice kredyt bank oddział w krakowie kredyt samochodowy mbank dokumenty umowa pożyczki od wspólnika spółki z o o kredyt bez bik 10 000 kredyt konsolidacyjny w banku zachodnim wbk szybkie pożyczki bez krd pożyczki ozorków pożyczki olsztyn na dowód kredyt mieszkaniowy ing bank kalkulator pożyczki kapitał ludzki kredyt bank nowe konto oszczędnościowe kredyt bankowy źródło finansowania pożyczki hybrydowe kody orange kredyt ekspresowa pozyczka w domu klienta poznań kalkulator pożyczki pko sa pożyczki do 5000 zł kredyt mieszkaniowy oblicz zdolność kredyt bank filia nr 4 gdynia numer kredyt do orange opodatkowanie pożyczki udzielonej przez udziałowca kredyt bank bankomaty przemyśl pożyczki chwilówki bez zaświadczeń o dochodach kredyt bank poznań adres polska pozyczka dla bedacych w uk kredyt bankowy słownik kredyt bank kontakt infolinia symulacja kredytu w credit agricole pożyczki kielce gdzie dostane pozyczke bez sprawdzania w biku kredyt 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pożyczki pod zastaw nieruchomości wejherowo chwilowki bez zdolnosci kredytoeej na dowod pożyczki czeladź kredyt bank darmowe bankomaty pożyczki rumia kredyt bank warszawa garibaldiego pożyczki chwilówki porównanie kredyty konsolidacyjne forum kredyt konsolidacyjny bez bik kraków szybki kredyt gotówkowy bez bik zarabianie na pożyczkach ostatni przelew w kredyt banku kredyt bez biku na oświadczenie pozyczki inne niz prowident kredyt bank warszawa otwarty w sobotę kredyty chwilówki stalowa wola okulickiego pożyczki bez bik chwilówki kredyt bankowy gdzie w bilansie kredyty chwilówki ligota kredyt bank radom żeromskiego godziny otwarcia kredyt chwilówka bochnia udzielenie pożyczki spółce osobowej przez wspólnika kredyt bank wypowiedział umowę czy alior bank udziela pozyczek z zajeciem komorniczym pożyczki przez internet darmowe mlc pożyczki kredyt bank olsztyn kontakt kredyty chwilówki oszustwo umowa pożyczki od udziałowca wzór kredyty bankowe konto wynikowe czy bilansowe oświadczenie o oddaniu pożyczki zabezpieczenie pożyczki od osoby prywatnej prominent pożyczki lublin pożyczki na dowód kalkulator prywatne pożyczki gotówkowe warszawa pko bp kredyt dla niepracujacych kredyt bank w sosnowcu kredyt konsolidacyjny zabezpieczenie pożyczki chwilówki chrzanów mikropożyczki kraków umowa pożyczki dla pracownika a pcc marka kredyty opinie kredyty bez bik do 20000 wydanie przedmiotu pożyczki medicover kredyt bank warszawa kredyt na remont w getin banku pożyczki w getin banku gdzie szukać pożyczki pozabankowej kredyt mieszkaniowy 70 tys kredyt chwilówki żary w jakim banku opłaca się wziąć kredyt kredyty i gwarancje bankowe pdf pożyczki krótkoterminowe kredyt bank bednarska refinansowanie pożyczki www wbkpożyczki srem kredyt bank sa email kredyty chwilówki chełm pożyczki od prywatnego inwestora kredyt mieszkaniowy dla rencistów kredyty bez bik w czestochowie lloyds kredyt konsolidacyjny kredyty w banku millennium bankomaty kredyt bank gliwice pożyczki gotówkowe z bikiem umowa 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wewnętrzne kredyt bez bik pleszew pożyczki wonga forum kredyt bez bik konin jak udzielić pożyczki kredyt w santander bank umowa pożyczki pod zastaw auta pożyczki na dowód bez umowy o prace kredyt studencki pko urlop dziekański kronos pożyczki kraków pilny kredyt nowy targ kredyt bank gubin getin noble bank kredyt konsolidacyjny pszczółka pożyczki opinie poszukuję pożyczki pod zastaw kredyty konsolidacyjne gdynia kredyt samochodowy dla nowych firm kalkulator omyła pożyczki formy poręczenia pożyczki pożyczki prywatne wzór umowy pożyczki od osób prywatnych warszawa kredyt w millenium bank kredyty chwilówki na firme w jakim banku kredyt gotówkowy 2012 kredyt bankowy małe i średnie przedsiębiorstwa bocian pożyczki lubań umowa pożyczki stawka 20 pożyczki bocian reklama umorzenie pożyczki z zfss kredyt bank arkadia kredyt konsolidacyjny z zajęciami komorniczymi kredyt w getin banku kredyt konsolidacyjny alior bank opinie kredyt chwilowki zielona gora kredyty bez bik stargard szczeciński pożyczki bez bik ogłoszenia pożyczki gotówkowe bgż kredyt bank windykacja warszawa pozyczki zyrafa aleksandrow lodzki pożyczki gotówkowe wikipedia kredyt bank ilość pracowników odsetki od pożyczki nota czy faktura bankomaty kredyt banku bez prowizji pożyczki bez bik do domu praca licencjacka o kredytach kredyt bank ełk ul słowackiego kredyt mieszkaniowy eurobank pozyczka na dowod kwidzyn 24 h pożyczki telefon polska przedmiot umowy pożyczki i kredytu kredyt w getin banku bik kredyt bank a wbk kredyt konsolidacyjny 60 tys pożyczki chwilówki jasło pożyczki obligacyjne garr pożyczki kredyty chwilówki lokaty kredyt bankowy millenium kredyt w pekao sa forum pożyczki chwilówki w kielcach kredyt bank prowizje w bankomatach pożyczki dla osób które ukończyły 18 lat pożyczki prywatne 10000 kredyt bank łódź niemcewicza godziny otwarcia umowa cywilno prawna pożyczki wzór bocian pożyczki giżycko kredyt bank lokata strukturyzowana anulowanie umowy pożyczki kredyty bez bik big i krd umorzenie pożyczki z zfśs a podatek dochodowy kredyt bank toruń ul grudziądzka warunki otrzymania kredytu konsolidacyjnego wbk tarnobrzegocian pożyczki kredyt bank warszawa centrum godziny otwarcia kredyty bez bik starachowice kredyt mieszkaniowy eurobank forum kredyt bank godz otwarcia kredyt bank piła kontakt rekrutacja w kredyt banku oferteo pożyczki druk spłaty pożyczki kredyt bank lębork telefon pożyczki dla osób z komornikiem poznań kredyt bank lubin kredyty chwilówki w uk kredyt bank w skoczowie pożyczki społecznościowe opinie 2012 skarabeusz pożyczki opinia kredyt ge money bank kredyt bank morawskiego godziny otwarcia kredyt bank lokaty bez podatku belki pozyczka bocian leszno odsetki od pożyczki wyliczenie kredyt bank zgora alior bank kredyt za wyciąg pożyczki bez bik wysoka przyznawalność kredyt w banku centralnym kredyty typu chwilówka nowa sól kredyt bank poznan dabrowskiego porównaj pożyczki gotówkowe kredyt bank krosno godziny otwarcia bocian pożyczki lublin teleklient pożyczki 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domu klienta ruda slaska kredyt bez bik kolobrzeg kredyty konsolidacyjne polbank pożyczki udzielane przez gminy warunki pożyczki provident wzór na obliczenie oprocentowania pożyczki pożyczki pod zastaw bolesławiec kredyt bank kraków królewska godziny otwarcia pożyczki ostrów mazowiecka na podobe providenta forum pożyczki prywatne kredyt dla wspólnoty mieszkaniowej 2012 kredyt bank pełna nazwa czy w skok stefczyka można wziąć kredyt bez bik odsetki od pożyczki jako koszt uzyskania przychodu mikropożyczki online kredyty pozabankowe dla zadluzonych kredyt bank legnica telefon kredyt bank wymiana walut pożyczki prywatne na weksel gdańsk pożyczki gotówkowe warszawa sobota kredyty chwilówki częstochowa pożyczki ustka kredyt bank kod iban kredyt bank garbary poznań godziny otwarcia pozyczka bez bik na oswiadczenie dla zadluzonych kredyty samochodowe ing umowa pożyczki bocian kredyt w pko bp opinie 2012 kredyt bankowy oprocentowanie kredyty bez biku z komornikiem kredyt konsolidacyjny dla osób w biku kredyt bank warszawa praga pożyczki na dowód osobisty od ręki bez zameldowania pozyczki dojazd do domu wloclawek kredyt ratalny lukas bank kalkulator kredyt bank katowice ul szafranka kredyt bank kalisz kalkulator pożyczki gotówkowej eurobank pożyczki bankowe dla firm getin noble bank kredyt deweloperski kredyt bez bik i krd chorzow pożyczki bez bik radom pożyczki obligacyjne kredyt bank wrocław godziny otwarcia kredyt bank mława godziny otwarcia sigma bank kredyty bez poręczycieli bydgoszcz pożyczki internetowe bez prowizji kredyt konsolidacyjny ranking banków pożyczki prywatne od osób prywatnych cesja umowy pożyczki a pcc pożyczki bez bik przez sms pożyczki prywatne oprocentowanie meritum bank kredyt online opinie skarabeusz pożyczki opinia pożyczki w bolesławcu umowa pożyczki nieoprocentowana pożyczki gotówkowe rybnik kredyt studencki jaki bank wybrac pożyczki dla wspólnot mieszkaniowych kredyt bank doładowanie telefonu kredyt bank kolegialna 22 najbardziej korzystne pożyczki 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“Bill Casselman is one of the country’s [Canada's] leading etymologists and word hounds, as is shown by his numerous books on language, including the celebrated Canadian Sayings.”

                                     - Professor Jennifer MacLennan, in Readings for Technical Communication, Oxford University Press, 2008

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“Washington Crossing the Delaware” (Emanuel Leutze, 1851. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City), a detail of which is shown above, displays Old Glory, a flag folded but ready to be unfurled and brandished at the onset of the Battle of Trenton on Christmas Day, 1776 CE, an opening gambit in the surprise attack against Hessian mercenaries who were clustered like German measles across the river in New Jersey.

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All Manners of Banners: Some Neat Flag Words

 

Vexillology is the study of flags, from vexillum Latin ‘a banner carried by Roman troops,’ ultimately from the Latin verb vehere ‘to carry.’ The literal meaning then of vexillum is ‘little thing carried.’ The common combining form or suffix of scientific discipline names is -ology from Greek -logia ‘a study made up of words first spoken, then later in Greek history written down, a treatise,’ itself from the Greek λόγος logos ‘word, speech, words, discourse, reason ’ and ultimately from the Greek verb λέγειν legein ‘to speak.’

From the same verb comes our English word vehicle, literal meaning ‘small transport that carries things.’ The Latin verb stem of vehere lurks in other English words like convey, convex, invective, vector, vehement, and vein.


Most English-speakers cannot give the proper names to the parts of a flag? Can you?
 
     The Parts of a Flag



1. STAFF. The pole from which a flag is flown.
2. CANTON. Any quarter of the flag, although it
commonly refers to the upper hoist quarter or chief canton.
3. FIELD. The largest area of a flag.
4. CHARGE. Any emblem or logo on the field.
5. HOIST. The part of the flag closest to the staff.
6. FLY. The part of the flag farthest from the staff.
 

The Vexillum of Saint Veronica


Vexillum has a special meaning in ecclesiastical history. It was a small linen banner tied to the top of a bishop’s crozier. The vexillum attached to such a pastoral staff was a sudarium (Latin ‘cloth for sweat’). A reasonable modern translation of sudarium would be the word handkerchief. This is perhaps a reference to Saint Veronica.

St. Veronica

Roman Catholics who know the Latin mass will remember that one of the 14 stations of the cross is sometimes called in Latin sudarium Veronicae or vexillum Veronicae. The sixth station of the cross commemorates the moment when a woman in the crowd watching Jesus carry his own cross to the place of crucifixion took pity on Christ and handed him her veil to wipe the sweat from his brow. After using it, Jesus handed the cloth back to Veronica and she saw that image of Christ’s visage had appeared on the cloth as a miracle.

The pious lady was only named much later. She was first known as Berenice (Macedonian Greek version of Greek Pherenike ‘bearer of victory.’ In spite of pious folk etymology, Veronica does not stem from Latin and Greek vera Latin ‘true’ + eikon Greek ‘image.’ Saint Veronica is the patron saint of photographers (!) and laundry workers.

Latin names for the stations of the cross are Via Crucis ‘way of the cross’ and Via Dolorosa ‘way of sorrows.’ Comic essayist S. J. Perelman referred to a shoddy summer house he once rented as the Villa Dolorosa.
 
Vexillary
Another word from the same root, obscure except in the study of Roman military history, is vexillarius, in English vexillary, a class of veterans in the Roman army, serving under a special standard.  In Latin vexillarius is also a word for an ensign or standard-bearer.

Vexillator

In medieval miracle plays, sometimes called mysteries, a vexillator carried a banner naming one of the settings of the play and also sometimes speaking the prologue to the play.
 

Time now to flag other flag words.
 
Banner
Banner came into English from Norman French banere, after 1066 and all that. It is ultimately a Gothic word bandwa ‘token, sign’ that gives rise to several European terms like Spanish bandera and Italian bandiera.

My introduction to the word banner came when memorizing for recitation in Grade 8, Henry W. Longfellow’s rather jingly-jangly, kitschy-rhymed poem “Excelsior (1841).” The Latin title means ‘higher’ or ‘more forward-going.’ Longfellow borrowed it from the seal of the State of New York where it reposes as the noble motto. A poetic translation, spun out to a more pleasing semantic amplitude, might be “Strive Ever Onward!” It is a jolly good poem for young people to memorize because Longfellow’s thumping rhythms pound along merrily, making the thing quite easy to commit to memory.

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, ‘mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

‘Tis a maudlin tale our poet recounts. The ardent youth, ignoring warnings of the know-it-all villagers, climbs higher and higher into the shivering fastness of a storm-flailed mountain, carrying his stupid pole. Comes the dawn and Young Ardent is found frozen to death, stiffer than a defunct carp in January, dead in the snow, his youthful pinkies still clutching the pole and its now rather ironic banner ‘Excelsior.’ Death has been well dubbed ‘the great ironist.’ See the entire poem reprinted at the end of this column.
 
Gonfalon
A gaudy flag word indeed, borrowed by English knights from a word popular during the Italian Renaissance. It sounds better in Italian with that gentle /e/ at its end: gonfalone. It’s a banner that hangs from a cross-bar rather than being tied to a pole. A single-pointed or swallow-tailed gonfalon is still used in ecclesiastical troopings. Medieval Italian republics used them as banners. From the greatest epic poem in English, Paradise Lost (1667 CE), here is John Milton’s use of the word to describe the ceremony of angel hoards summoned to the throne of god:


                      By present, past, and future on such day
                     As Heav'ns great Year brings forth, th' Empyreal Host
                     Of Angels by Imperial summons call'd,
                     Innumerable before th' Almighties Throne
                     Forthwith from all the ends of Heav'n appeerd
                     Under thir Hierarchs in orders bright
                     Ten thousand thousand Ensignes high advanc'd,
                     Standards and Gonfalons twixt Van and Reare
                     Streame in the Aire, and for distinction serve
                     Of Hierarchies, of Orders, and Degrees;


     ─ John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 5, lines 582-591

Etymology of Gonfalon
Gonfalon is a reborrowing of the word from Italian gonfalone after a much earlier appearance in Old English as guthfana, later gonfanon, ultimately from Old Teutonic gunthja ‘war’ + fano ‘banner.’ With fano compare the modern German word for flag, die Fahne, one and the same.

The most infamous use of the word Fahne in modern German history was as the opening line of the Nazi National Anthem (1930-1945), The Horst-Wessel-Lied (“Horst Wessel Song”). Die Fahne hoch means ‘the flag on high.’ The lyrics were written by one Horst Wessel, a Nazi activist in Berlin of not very great caution who was murdered by local communists. Propaganda poobah, Joseph Goebbels, decided to make the bumbling Horst the leading martyr of the Nazi Movement and did so. Since 1945, it is illegal in Germany to sing in public the Horst Wessel Lied. Dummer Horst hoch!
 
Burgee
A burgee is a small sailing flag,a two- or three-cornered banner used by yachts as a distinguishing flag.
 
Ensign
Ensign is what is left after the Latin neuter plural noun insignia ‘signs and signals’ passed through Old French into English. Ensign has several meanings, of which we are concerned with only a few. An ensign is a military banner, a body of men who serve under such a banner, and one who carries that banner, a standard-bearer. From ancient use as an infantry rank, ensign also became the name of a rank in the United States Navy, where an ensign is the lowest of commissioned naval officers.

French Flag Words


Drapeau is the common French word for flag, from Low Latin drappus ‘piece of cloth.’ It is not a native Latin word but may be Gallic in origin. The Old French word drap came first, meaning ‘cloth material’; then the diminutive form of drap appeared, drapeau ‘little piece of cloth, flag.’ The word became an occupation name too; un drapeau was a cloth-merchant, and that gave rise to the French surname, Drapeau.

To make cloth was the French verb draper, from which arise English borrowings like draper, drapes and drapery. In America, the sense of woven cloth became specialized to mean one particular kind of cloth, namely, window-coverings or drapes.


L’étendard
L’étendard means ‘standard.’ It is historical and poetic French nowadays. For example, in the lyrics to the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise” — “L’étendard sanglant est levé” ‘the little flag stained with blood is now held high.’

A porte-étendard is a standard bearer, that is, one who represents all that a political cause stands for.

Now, lest your spirit flag or your brio fizzle, must we egress, charged gonfalons aflutter in the spring breeze. But not before we stand and recite at the front of the class, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem.


Excelsior!
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
Excelsior!

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,
Excelsior!

"Try not the Pass!" the old man said:
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!
And loud that clarion voice replied,
Excelsior!

"Oh stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,
Excelsior!

"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,
Excelsior!

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,
Excelsior!

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,
Excelsior!


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

American poet, 1807-1882

 

 

 

For a selection from the free archives of my 400 previous word columns, click here

 

 

  

copyright © 2014 William Gordon Casselman

 

French Canadian Translation Services

 

 

 

 

------------------------------------------------------

new blog Monday August 18, 2014

Canadian Tax Officials Who Connived with Stephen Harper
To Harass his Enemies with Unnecessary Tax Audits Will Be
Named, Tried & Punished.

Read how this will happen on my latest blog essay by clicking below.

 

 

 

 

 

Click to Read My Most Recent Columns

 

1. Agomphious, Rusk, Quinion & Other Rare Words

2. A Vault of Ninnies

3. Dick-Wagger

4. Beaver as a Dirty Word

Any comments, additional word lore or book orders?

Please email me at

lutrine@rogers.com

 

 

 

Hundreds of links to more word essays; click below.

 

 

If you enjoyed this column, please tell your word-loving friends about my site

and ask them to visit it.

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On Twitter, I am BillCasselman. Check me out!

 

 

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Description of Site Contents Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day™ & Words of the World features thousands of entries about Canadian phrases, words, expressions, and folk sayings. Canadian French expressions, idioms and folk sayings are featured and explained in English. The latest, newest French Canadian slang is deciphered. Québécois joual phrases and jokes are explained in English. My newest, latest, unpublished word stories and studies appear here on this website. Canadian English is the focus but English spoken and written all over the world and throughout the history of the language interests me as well. Words of the World spotlights non-Canadian English words and their origins from languages all over the world and permits me to venture on etymological journeys well beyond the pleasant confines of my native Canada.

Copyright © 1996 -2013 William Gordon Casselman

etymology of Canadian words and phrasesphrases of Canadaword history of CanadaCanadian talkCanadian way of speakingCanadian speechwhere Canadian words come fromfunny Canadian sayingshumorous Canadian expressionsCanadian catchwordsCanadian epigramsCanadian mottoesCanadian stock sayingslearning Canadian Englishlearning Canadian French expressionslearning Quebec folk sayings introduction to etymology Canadian English as ESL slang and Canadian English slang       learn Canadian English Canadian English word power       learn Canadian words Canadian English word lists   . words used by Canadians Canadian lingo Kalan Porter pictures photographs photos Kalan Porter word lore Canadian sayings for ESL  William Gordon Casselman, Canadian author Bill Casselman's books Canadian words folk sayings of Canada Canadian expressions Canadian phrases words used by Canadians Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day archives etymology of Canadian wordsetymology examples of Canadian word origins Canadian English place names of Canada word stories funny Canadian sayings Canadian books books about Canadian words word roots Canadian vocabulary Canadian language Canadian lingo Canadian turn of phrase Canadian way of speaking French-Canadian words French-Canadian words in English Quebec words Quebec French Canadian surnames Canadian last names funny expressions of Canada Canadian word derivations Casselman's Canadian Words Casselmania Canadian Food Words Canadian Garden Words What's in a Canadian Name? Canadian Sayings Canadian Sayings one Canadian Sayings two Canadian Sayings 1 Canadian Sayings 2 Canadian Sayings 3 Canadian Sayings three dictionary of medical derivations etymology of medical terms what medical words mean origin of medical vocabulary medical word stories Canadian food words culinary terms of Canada where food names come from Canadian English words about Canada bill casselman bill casselman books etymology Canadian origins of words Acadian words Acadian food terms Acadian vocabulary Canadian Word of the Day™ word power word lore fun with words where words come from Canadian Word of the Day™ Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day™ Canadian Word of the Day Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day Canadian French as a second language Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day™ Canadian Word of the Day Canadian words words from Canada Canadian English Learn Canadian sayings Learn Canadian English Canadian English as a second language Canadian English study Canadian English as ESL ESL tips with Canadian English expressions Learning English ESL from Canadian English speaking Canadian English learning about Canada through Canadian English  Canadian unique words unique Canadian terms words used in Canada Words that are Canadian phrases terms sayings words original Canadian original Canadian words terms phrases Canadian idioms ESL tips for learning Canadian English Canadian ESL phrase books  funny folk sayings in English Canadian slang Canadian patois patois Canadien ESL sayings ESL funny sayings ESL teaching tips Canadian funny expressions Canadian English words  special phrases in Canadian English words unique to Canada English in Canada Old Canadian Expressions Historical sayings of Canada old sayings in Canada Canadian historical sayings expressions and proverbs of Canada origin of Avril Lavigne's surname words of Canada

..

Canadian termsCanadian languageFrench Canadian sayingsbooks on Canadian Englishbooks teaching Canadian EnglishEnglish in Canada ways of speechCanadian talk in English

.

unique words of Canadaunique Canadian phrasesunique sayings of Canada.word origins Canada unique expressions of Canada

funny sayings

Canadian expressions Canadian French expressionsCanadian French wordsCanadian French idioms explained in EnglishCanadian French sayings explained in EnglishCa.

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This site features the fun of word origins. By clicking on ARCHIVES below, you have free access to more than 400 short essays on wordlore. Unlike many somber word sites, my essays employ plenty of humor. Please give them a try!

 

next word column, Thursday, December 04, 2014

 

“Washington Crossing the Delaware” (Emanuel Leutze, 1851. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City), a detail of which is shown above, displays Old Glory, a flag folded but ready to be unfurled and brandished at the onset of the Battle of Trenton on Christmas Day, 1776 CE, an opening gambit in the surprise attack against Hessian mercenaries who were clustered like German measles across the river in New Jersey.

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All Manners of Banners: Some Neat Flag Words

 

Vexillology is the study of flags, from vexillum Latin ‘a banner carried by Roman troops,’ ultimately from the Latin verb vehere ‘to carry.’ The literal meaning then of vexillum is ‘little thing carried.’ The common combining form or suffix of scientific discipline names is -ology from Greek -logia ‘a study made up of words first spoken, then later in Greek history written down, a treatise,’ itself from the Greek λόγος logos ‘word, speech, words, discourse, reason ’ and ultimately from the Greek verb λέγειν legein ‘to speak.’

From the same verb comes our English word vehicle, literal meaning ‘small transport that carries things.’ The Latin verb stem of vehere lurks in other English words like convey, convex, invective, vector, vehement, and vein.


Most English-speakers cannot give the proper names to the parts of a flag? Can you?
 
     The Parts of a Flag



1. STAFF. The pole from which a flag is flown.
2. CANTON. Any quarter of the flag, although it
commonly refers to the upper hoist quarter or chief canton.
3. FIELD. The largest area of a flag.
4. CHARGE. Any emblem or logo on the field.
5. HOIST. The part of the flag closest to the staff.
6. FLY. The part of the flag farthest from the staff.
 

The Vexillum of Saint Veronica


Vexillum has a special meaning in ecclesiastical history. It was a small linen banner tied to the top of a bishop’s crozier. The vexillum attached to such a pastoral staff was a sudarium (Latin ‘cloth for sweat’). A reasonable modern translation of sudarium would be the word handkerchief. This is perhaps a reference to Saint Veronica.

St. Veronica

Roman Catholics who know the Latin mass will remember that one of the 14 stations of the cross is sometimes called in Latin sudarium Veronicae or vexillum Veronicae. The sixth station of the cross commemorates the moment when a woman in the crowd watching Jesus carry his own cross to the place of crucifixion took pity on Christ and handed him her veil to wipe the sweat from his brow. After using it, Jesus handed the cloth back to Veronica and she saw that image of Christ’s visage had appeared on the cloth as a miracle.

The pious lady was only named much later. She was first known as Berenice (Macedonian Greek version of Greek Pherenike ‘bearer of victory.’ In spite of pious folk etymology, Veronica does not stem from Latin and Greek vera Latin ‘true’ + eikon Greek ‘image.’ Saint Veronica is the patron saint of photographers (!) and laundry workers.

Latin names for the stations of the cross are Via Crucis ‘way of the cross’ and Via Dolorosa ‘way of sorrows.’ Comic essayist S. J. Perelman referred to a shoddy summer house he once rented as the Villa Dolorosa.
 
Vexillary
Another word from the same root, obscure except in the study of Roman military history, is vexillarius, in English vexillary, a class of veterans in the Roman army, serving under a special standard.  In Latin vexillarius is also a word for an ensign or standard-bearer.

Vexillator

In medieval miracle plays, sometimes called mysteries, a vexillator carried a banner naming one of the settings of the play and also sometimes speaking the prologue to the play.
 

Time now to flag other flag words.
 
Banner
Banner came into English from Norman French banere, after 1066 and all that. It is ultimately a Gothic word bandwa ‘token, sign’ that gives rise to several European terms like Spanish bandera and Italian bandiera.

My introduction to the word banner came when memorizing for recitation in Grade 8, Henry W. Longfellow’s rather jingly-jangly, kitschy-rhymed poem “Excelsior (1841).” The Latin title means ‘higher’ or ‘more forward-going.’ Longfellow borrowed it from the seal of the State of New York where it reposes as the noble motto. A poetic translation, spun out to a more pleasing semantic amplitude, might be “Strive Ever Onward!” It is a jolly good poem for young people to memorize because Longfellow’s thumping rhythms pound along merrily, making the thing quite easy to commit to memory.

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, ‘mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

‘Tis a maudlin tale our poet recounts. The ardent youth, ignoring warnings of the know-it-all villagers, climbs higher and higher into the shivering fastness of a storm-flailed mountain, carrying his stupid pole. Comes the dawn and Young Ardent is found frozen to death, stiffer than a defunct carp in January, dead in the snow, his youthful pinkies still clutching the pole and its now rather ironic banner ‘Excelsior.’ Death has been well dubbed ‘the great ironist.’ See the entire poem reprinted at the end of this column.
 
Gonfalon
A gaudy flag word indeed, borrowed by English knights from a word popular during the Italian Renaissance. It sounds better in Italian with that gentle /e/ at its end: gonfalone. It’s a banner that hangs from a cross-bar rather than being tied to a pole. A single-pointed or swallow-tailed gonfalon is still used in ecclesiastical troopings. Medieval Italian republics used them as banners. From the greatest epic poem in English, Paradise Lost (1667 CE), here is John Milton’s use of the word to describe the ceremony of angel hoards summoned to the throne of god:


                      By present, past, and future on such day
                     As Heav'ns great Year brings forth, th' Empyreal Host
                     Of Angels by Imperial summons call'd,
                     Innumerable before th' Almighties Throne
                     Forthwith from all the ends of Heav'n appeerd
                     Under thir Hierarchs in orders bright
                     Ten thousand thousand Ensignes high advanc'd,
                     Standards and Gonfalons twixt Van and Reare
                     Streame in the Aire, and for distinction serve
                     Of Hierarchies, of Orders, and Degrees;


     ─ John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 5, lines 582-591

Etymology of Gonfalon
Gonfalon is a reborrowing of the word from Italian gonfalone after a much earlier appearance in Old English as guthfana, later gonfanon, ultimately from Old Teutonic gunthja ‘war’ + fano ‘banner.’ With fano compare the modern German word for flag, die Fahne, one and the same.

The most infamous use of the word Fahne in modern German history was as the opening line of the Nazi National Anthem (1930-1945), The Horst-Wessel-Lied (“Horst Wessel Song”). Die Fahne hoch means ‘the flag on high.’ The lyrics were written by one Horst Wessel, a Nazi activist in Berlin of not very great caution who was murdered by local communists. Propaganda poobah, Joseph Goebbels, decided to make the bumbling Horst the leading martyr of the Nazi Movement and did so. Since 1945, it is illegal in Germany to sing in public the Horst Wessel Lied. Dummer Horst hoch!
 
Burgee
A burgee is a small sailing flag,a two- or three-cornered banner used by yachts as a distinguishing flag.
 
Ensign
Ensign is what is left after the Latin neuter plural noun insignia ‘signs and signals’ passed through Old French into English. Ensign has several meanings, of which we are concerned with only a few. An ensign is a military banner, a body of men who serve under such a banner, and one who carries that banner, a standard-bearer. From ancient use as an infantry rank, ensign also became the name of a rank in the United States Navy, where an ensign is the lowest of commissioned naval officers.

French Flag Words


Drapeau is the common French word for flag, from Low Latin drappus ‘piece of cloth.’ It is not a native Latin word but may be Gallic in origin. The Old French word drap came first, meaning ‘cloth material’; then the diminutive form of drap appeared, drapeau ‘little piece of cloth, flag.’ The word became an occupation name too; un drapeau was a cloth-merchant, and that gave rise to the French surname, Drapeau.

To make cloth was the French verb draper, from which arise English borrowings like draper, drapes and drapery. In America, the sense of woven cloth became specialized to mean one particular kind of cloth, namely, window-coverings or drapes.


L’étendard
L’étendard means ‘standard.’ It is historical and poetic French nowadays. For example, in the lyrics to the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise” — “L’étendard sanglant est levé” ‘the little flag stained with blood is now held high.’

A porte-étendard is a standard bearer, that is, one who represents all that a political cause stands for.

Now, lest your spirit flag or your brio fizzle, must we egress, charged gonfalons aflutter in the spring breeze. But not before we stand and recite at the front of the class, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem.


Excelsior!
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
Excelsior!

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,
Excelsior!

"Try not the Pass!" the old man said:
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!
And loud that clarion voice replied,
Excelsior!

"Oh stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,
Excelsior!

"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,
Excelsior!

At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,
Excelsior!

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,
Excelsior!

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,
Excelsior!


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

American poet, 1807-1882

 

 

 

For a selection from the free archives of my 400 previous word columns, click here

 

 

  

copyright © 2014 William Gordon Casselman

 

French Canadian Translation Services

 

 

 

 

------------------------------------------------------

new blog Monday August 18, 2014

Canadian Tax Officials Who Connived with Stephen Harper
To Harass his Enemies with Unnecessary Tax Audits Will Be
Named, Tried & Punished.

Read how this will happen on my latest blog essay by clicking below.

 

 

 

 

 

Click to Read My Most Recent Columns

 

1. Agomphious, Rusk, Quinion & Other Rare Words

2. A Vault of Ninnies

3. Dick-Wagger

4. Beaver as a Dirty Word

Any comments, additional word lore or book orders?

Please email me at

lutrine@rogers.com

 

 

 

Hundreds of links to more word essays; click below.

 

 

If you enjoyed this column, please tell your word-loving friends about my site

and ask them to visit it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Learn Some Quebec French Sayings

 

Quebec French Sayings -1

On Twitter, I am BillCasselman. Check me out!

 

 

Order new or used online from amazon.com

“The book is wonderful!” says a buyer of my Dictionary of Medical Derivations at amazon.com

 

 

If you can't find my books online or in stores,order them directly from the author. Just send me an email

 

wordguy@shaw.ca

 

 

Description of Site Contents Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day™ & Words of the World features thousands of entries about Canadian phrases, words, expressions, and folk sayings. Canadian French expressions, idioms and folk sayings are featured and explained in English. The latest, newest French Canadian slang is deciphered. Québécois joual phrases and jokes are explained in English. My newest, latest, unpublished word stories and studies appear here on this website. Canadian English is the focus but English spoken and written all over the world and throughout the history of the language interests me as well. Words of the World spotlights non-Canadian English words and their origins from languages all over the world and permits me to venture on etymological journeys well beyond the pleasant confines of my native Canada.

Copyright © 1996 -2013 William Gordon Casselman

etymology of Canadian words and phrasesphrases of Canadaword history of CanadaCanadian talkCanadian way of speakingCanadian speechwhere Canadian words come fromfunny Canadian sayingshumorous Canadian expressionsCanadian catchwordsCanadian epigramsCanadian mottoesCanadian stock sayingslearning Canadian Englishlearning Canadian French expressionslearning Quebec folk sayings introduction to etymology Canadian English as ESL slang and Canadian English slang       learn Canadian English Canadian English word power       learn Canadian words Canadian English word lists   . words used by Canadians Canadian lingo Kalan Porter pictures photographs photos Kalan Porter word lore Canadian sayings for ESL  William Gordon Casselman, Canadian author Bill Casselman's books Canadian words folk sayings of Canada Canadian expressions Canadian phrases words used by Canadians Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day archives etymology of Canadian wordsetymology examples of Canadian word origins Canadian English place names of Canada word stories funny Canadian sayings Canadian books books about Canadian words word roots Canadian vocabulary Canadian language Canadian lingo Canadian turn of phrase Canadian way of speaking French-Canadian words French-Canadian words in English Quebec words Quebec French Canadian surnames Canadian last names funny expressions of Canada Canadian word derivations Casselman's Canadian Words Casselmania Canadian Food Words Canadian Garden Words What's in a Canadian Name? Canadian Sayings Canadian Sayings one Canadian Sayings two Canadian Sayings 1 Canadian Sayings 2 Canadian Sayings 3 Canadian Sayings three dictionary of medical derivations etymology of medical terms what medical words mean origin of medical vocabulary medical word stories Canadian food words culinary terms of Canada where food names come from Canadian English words about Canada bill casselman bill casselman books etymology Canadian origins of words Acadian words Acadian food terms Acadian vocabulary Canadian Word of the Day™ word power word lore fun with words where words come from Canadian Word of the Day™ Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day™ Canadian Word of the Day Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day Canadian French as a second language Bill Casselman's Canadian Word of the Day™ Canadian Word of the Day Canadian words words from Canada Canadian English Learn Canadian sayings Learn Canadian English Canadian English as a second language Canadian English study Canadian English as ESL ESL tips with Canadian English expressions Learning English ESL from Canadian English speaking Canadian English learning about Canada through Canadian English  Canadian unique words unique Canadian terms words used in Canada Words that are Canadian phrases terms sayings words original Canadian original Canadian words terms phrases Canadian idioms ESL tips for learning Canadian English Canadian ESL phrase books  funny folk sayings in English Canadian slang Canadian patois patois Canadien ESL sayings ESL funny sayings ESL teaching tips Canadian funny expressions Canadian English words  special phrases in Canadian English words unique to Canada English in Canada Old Canadian Expressions Historical sayings of Canada old sayings in Canada Canadian historical sayings expressions and proverbs of Canada origin of Avril Lavigne's surname words of Canada

..

Canadian termsCanadian languageFrench Canadian sayingsbooks on Canadian Englishbooks teaching Canadian EnglishEnglish in Canada ways of speechCanadian talk in English

.

unique words of Canadaunique Canadian phrasesunique sayings of Canada.word origins Canada unique expressions of Canada

funny sayings

Canadian expressions Canadian French expressionsCanadian French wordsCanadian French idioms explained in EnglishCanadian French sayings explained in EnglishCa.

nad