The obscure English Word Of the first Week of November is
This word means the legal right to cut turf or peat from ground belonging to somebody else. It was important, upon a time, because peat was a specific and limited resource in certain regions; but who’d have ever imagined that the rights to cut it actually had its own specific term?
Only in English, the language of a million plus words and a history of mugging other languages for their vocabulary and then chasing them down a dark alley and riffling their pockets for even more.
I don’t think that anyone would want to come to my place and cut sod, but I wouldn’t mind if some nice person cut my lawn.
Poor antiquated ‘Turbary.’ A few people must still cut peat to use as fuel, but electricity and gas being piped to almost every home in Britain, has relegated it to the back of the top shelf of the Dictionary’s closet. It is not alone there. The writer of a recent post that I read was amazed by the existence of the word ‘defenestration,’ which means throwing something, or someone, out of a window.
“Was there really a lot of that going on, back in the Middle Ages, that they needed to create a word to describe it?” Watch/rewatch the movie Braveheart, where Longshanks, the King, casually tosses the ‘friend’ of the gay prince out of the tower window. “Clean that mess up!”
Would you like a real challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word. I had trouble enough just composing this short little post. I can issue a challenge with the word ‘turbary,’ I try to keep this a G-rated blog site. I couldn’t challenge you with a word like dongle. I know you lot. 😆