Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

COCKLE

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

COCKLE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:45 am

• cockle •


Pronunciation: kah-kêl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A hairy plant (Lychnis Githago) with a purplish flower commonly found along roadsides and in grain fields, also known as the corn cockle. It is unrelated to the cockle burr (family Asteraceae), which led to the invention of Velcro. 2. A heart-shaped ribbed bivalve including the scallop and similar clams with ribbed shells. 3. A wrinkle or pucker in a piece of cloth or, as a verb, "to make wrinkle or pucker."

Notes: The fishwife Molly Malone, in the Irish folksong of that name, wheeled her pushcart up and down the streets of Dublin singing, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!" Clearly Molly understood the importance of seafood being fresh. It is difficult to tell which type of cockles are intended in the nursery rhyme:
Mary, Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Are we talking about flowers shaped like cockle shells or actual shells used for garden decoration?

In Play: Perhaps the loveliest use of today's word is in the phrase, "to warm the cockles of (your) heart." No one knows where it comes from: the fact that cockles are cold? The fact that they are heart-shaped? From the Medieval Latin phrase cochleae cordis "ventricles of the heart"? Charles Darwin wrote in a letter in 1858, "I have just had the innermost cockles of my heart rejoiced by a letter from Lyell." We worry that the third meaning of today's word may fall by the wayside: "The borborygms emanating from Gladwyn's paunch after dinner cockled the brows of the other dinner guests."

Word History: If you think the two meanings of today's Good Word are suspiciously unrelated, you're right. The name of the shellfish comes from Old French coquille "scallop, shell" (as in coquilles Saint-Jacques) from Latin conchylium "shellfish" borrowed from Greek konkhylion, the diminutive of konkhe "cockle, mussel". The Latin equivalent of konkhe was concha "mussel, shellfish", the origin of English conch. The name of the flower, however, came from Medieval Latin cocculus "little berry", the diminutive of Latin coccus "berry", borrowed from Greek kokkos with the same meaning. (Nothing could have warmed the cockles of our hearts more than Billie Brightwell's and Lynn Laboriel's independent suggestions that we run today's Good Word in our series.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3560
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: COCKLE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:45 am

Your reference to the Latin cochleae probably indicates the same word used of the inner ear, cochlea, where the cilia connect to the otic nerves to enable hearing.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2386
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: COCKLE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:46 pm

So many nursery rhymes began with history.
I've understood Mary, contrary in Doc's example
to be Mary Queen of Scots imprisoned by
Elizabeth, with nothing to do but garden.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3472
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: COCKLE

Postby MTC » Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:36 pm

By the way, the apt scientific name for the heart-shaped bivalve is Cardidae.

I have my own theory (hypothesis?) about the origin of the expression, "to warm the cockles of your heart." When cockles are warmed they open up just as we "open our hearts" when they are "warmed" by emotions. If this is not the origin of the idiom, it should be.

Gotta go now. Starting to clam up...
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: COCKLE

Postby gailr » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:24 pm

Don't clam up! You know the drill; it augurs well to post your insights in the Agora. There's no tellin what we might learn.
User avatar
gailr
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:40 am

Re: COCKLE

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:07 pm

MTC: Whether your theory about warming the cockles of the heart is historically correct, I cannot say. It sounds good to me.

Good Doctor: You didn't do justice to sweet Molly Malone. I suppose your reference was from memory. Because I learned the ballad at my mother's knee and I am particularly interested in ballads, I know it "by heart". To be sure, I went to Google and these words are exactly as I remember them:

"Cockles and Mussels

In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!
Alive, alive-O! alive, alive-O!
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!

She was a fish-monger, but sure 'twas no wonder
For so were her father and mother before
And they each wheeled their barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!
Alive, alive-O! alive, alive-O!
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!

She died of a fever, and no one could save her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
But her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!
Alive, alive-O! alive, alive-O!
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!"

Perhaps of little interest to one who is not a ballad aficionado, Molly was not a fish-wife but a beautiful maiden who was a fish-monger or peddler. She had to push a barrow to rhyme with narrow on the next line.

I delight in definition three, because I was not aware of it. I like it so much that I am going to invent an occasion to remark about my own brow being cockled.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1774
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: COCKLE

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:01 am

Luke: There are at least three theories of the historical origin of the poem about Mary’s garden. One is attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots and another to Mary I of England. The third has been attributed to particularities of Roman Catholic worship services. The two Queens lived in the sixteenth century. The poem was almost surely written in the eighteenth century. Many nursery rhymes have been attributed to historical events. I know of no arguments that are compelling. Who were Jack Horner, Old King Cole, Jack and Jill, et cetera, ad nauseam?
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1774
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: COCKLE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:41 am

And "Little Boy Blue"?
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3472
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: COCKLE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:31 pm

I bought a book that purports to answer many of these questions. I wonder if courses on research instruct in how to find mislaid items around the house and office? If I can un-mislay the book, I may post their suggestions.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2386
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: COCKLE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:52 pm

Un-mislay! I like that.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3472
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests

cron