Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chancel, Clerestory

Chancel: This is the area around the altar in a church, possibly containing a space for the choir and separated by a screen.

Clerestory: (Pronounced "clear story") While this was original the upper level of a church, Frank Lloyd Wright used the term to describe a row of windows at the peak of the roof.
The skinniest turret was a spiral stair that led up to the triforium, which was a sort of a raised gallery that ran all the way around the inside of the chancel above the screens and below the soaring clerestory windows.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Saraband: A slow, courtly dance from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Sarabands ran on endlessly in her head; and her thoughts, like dancing girls on some flowery carpet, leapt with notes from dream to dream, from sorrow to sorrow.
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Postilion: The postilion rides on a lead horse to direct the team pulling a coach.
Afternoons she sometimes crossed the road for a chat with the postilions while Madame was up in her room.
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Saddle Breeching

Saddle Breeching: A strap attached to a saddle and around the animal's rump to prevent the saddle from riding forward in rough terrain.
Half a mile further along they had to stop; the breeching broke, and Charles mended it with rope.
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Chignon: This is derived from the French phrase chignon de cou meaning nape of the neck. It refers to any up hairstyle, commonly called a bun.
In her chignon a rose quivered on its flexible stem, with artificial dewdrops at the leaf-tips.
With his hands on the back of her chair, he would look down and see the teeth of her comb piercing her chignon.
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Jabot: A frilly, lacy neck piece. This was a style for men in the 18th and 19th centuries, and currently for women.
[Fancy serving dishes] were brought around by the maitre d'hotel himself, grave as a judge in silk stockings, knee breeches, white neck cloth and jabot.
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Foulard: A lightweight cloth, usually cotton or silk, printed with a small geometric pattern or some garment made from such fabric.
He had so long been used to wearing cotton nightcaps that he couldn't get his foulard to stay on his head.
He bought a whole new supply of foulard handkerchiefs.
To perfume his foulards he used up his daughter-in-law's entire supple of eau de Cologne.
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Breviary: In the Catholic Church, a book containing common religious writings, such as psalms, hymns, and prayers. It might also be used to referred to any abridged document.
At the far end, under some spruces, a plaster priest stood reading his breviary.
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Espalier, Coping

Espalier: A form of topiary where a plant or plants are pruned and trained to grow in a single plane, often against a wall.

Coping: The top of a brick or stone wall designed to protect the wall from rain.
The long narrow garden ran back between two clay walls covered with espaliered apricot trees.
The was no sound of birds; everything seemed to be sleeping - the espaliered trees under their straw, the vine like a great sick snake under the wall coping.
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Tippet, Fichu

Tippet: A long scarf worn around the neck and hanging down to the knees.
Fichu: A triangular scarf worn over the shoulders and tied in front.
The ladies wore country-style headdresses and city-style gowns, with gold watch chains, tippets (the ends crossed and tucked into their belts), or small colored fichus attached at the back with pins and leaving the neck bare.
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Thursday, December 4, 2008


Dilatory: Late, tardy.
The dilatory limousine came rolling up the drive.
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Punctilious: Fastidious, especially with respect to manners and social propriety.
He was balancing himself on the dashboard of his car with that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American ... This quality was continually breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape od restlessness.
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Vinous: Relating to wine.
She threw up her hands, sank into a chair, and went off into a deep vinous sleep.
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Pasquinade: A public satirical poem or story, usually targeting a specific person.
I thought the whole tale would shortly be served up in a racy pasquinade.
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Fractious: Someone with a short temper, easily angered or upset.
His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Brassard: A brassard is an armband used to display a military insignia. The brassard might be used for a temporary insignia, such as Officer of the Day, or part of the uniform.
Three of them were armed and wearing brassards on their sleeves, making Castillo think they were probably the AOD, the FOD, and OD, which translated to mean ... and the Officer of the Day.
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Pitot (Tube)

Pitot Tube: A pitot tube opens towards the direction of flight on an airplane and senses the aircraft velocity. The physics were discovered by Henri Pitot in the 18th century. It fails it becomes blocked by debris or ice. For this reason the pitot tube is usually heated.
There was an unpleasant story that the crash had been due to General Cairn's failure to turn on his aircraft's pitot heater.
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