Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

ENSCONCE

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

ENSCONCE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed May 30, 2012 9:29 pm

• ensconce •

Pronunciation: en-skahnsHear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To conceal something in a safe, secret place. 2. To set up in a prominent, fixed place, as to ensconce yourself on the coffee table so everyone can see you.

Notes: This word has the usual family members, such as ensconcing, the noun and adjective. However, they are rarely used. The past participle, ensconced, is used almost like an adjective. Just remember, it begins with an E and uses a C after the S—not a K.

In Play: Always check the room before canoodling: "Unbeknownst to his older sister, Little Woody Dewett ensconced himself behind the draperies in the living room to see what his sister and her boyfriend might be up to that evening." In the holiday season we are more likely than usual to ensconce things: "Hillary ensconced the angel she had inherited from her grandmother on the crown of the Christmas tree after all the other decorations were in place."

Word History: It seems unlikely that this good word is related to the sconce that now refers to a wall lamp. In fact, English has another word, sconce "earthworks, small fort", which went into the making of the verb ensconce. This noun probably came from Dutch schans, akin to German Schanze "earthwork, redoubt". Meaning No. 2 above is a US extension of the original meaning of "dig in, fortify". The word for the wall candle or lamp comes from Old French esconse "lantern" from the Latin absconsus "hidden", the past participle (absconsus) of abscondere "to hide". (Yes, our word abscond comes from the same Latin verb.) But the ironic twist here is that the Latin word for "hidden" became the English word for a prominent light on a wall. Quite a semantic journey. (We are happy that Susan Lister has become ensconced in the Alpha Agora and is a regular contributor of Good Words.
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3625
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Postby Slava » Thu May 31, 2012 9:03 pm

One of my favorite words, it somehow, at least to me, conveys its meaning in its sound.

Back when I was younger and more flexible, I would often ensconce myself in odd places to do my reading. I read "The Idiot" in two days stuffed between a wall and my entertainment center.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4840
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:59 am

Slava, you read "The Idiot"! I read a lot of Dostoyevsky but I read "The Idiot" with acute interest. The word "Idiot" did not mean "insane" or "stupid" in this case. I think it meant "trusting" and "naive". Dostoyevsky presented Myshkin almost as a Christ figure. In "Crime and Punishment", Dostoyevsky took an excursion into the Inquisition to show another Christ figure. He was a complex person.

I have read in a tree and on a sack of cotton (when I should have been picking more cotton), but I never ensconced myself between a wall and an entertainment center. I don't remember owning an entertainment center. Did you also practice self flagellation? Or have I gone to meddlin'?
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1837
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:13 pm

When I first read it, Idiot, I thought this is going to be
really "out of it", but I got the idea of "trusting" as well
with a touch of 'naive'.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3550
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Postby Slava » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:37 pm

Actually, Idiot back then was simply what people called epileptics. They weren't considered educable, so were sent off to sanataria.

In case you don't already know, Lev Myshkin can be translated as "Lion of the Mouse" or "Lion Mouse-Heart".

Go back and look, too, at the pagination. The first third of the book is one chapter, and just the very first day of Myshkin's life there. Amazing he lived through it at all.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4840
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 8 guests

cron