Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

CATAFALQUE

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

CATAFALQUE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:39 pm

• catafalque •



Pronunciation: kæt-ê-fawlk • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A bier, a decorated platform on which a coffin rests in a funeral.

Notes: The first thing we note about today's Good Word is that it ends on -que that is pronounced [k]. This is how we know that today's word was a recent borrowing from French, since a final -que on French words is always pronounced [k]. The next thing of note is the US pronunciation of T between vowels: it often comes out [d]: kæd- ê-fawlk.

In Play: The Lincoln catafalque, built in 1865 to support the casket of Abraham Lincoln, has since been used for all those who have lain in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Catafalques are not something easy to joke about, but in Daniel Deronda (1876), George Eliot wrote, "'If you have laid out what we want, go and see to the others, Bugle,' Gwendolyn had said, when she and Mrs. Danilow entered their black and yellow bedroom, where a pretty little white couch was prepared by the side of a black and yellow catafalque, known as 'the best bed'"—apparently a reference to the comfort of Elizabethan beds.

Word History: Today's good word is a tracing of the spelling and meaning of French catafalque, from Italian catafalco "scaffold", from Vulgar Latin catafalicum. This word is believed to have originated with Greek kata- "down, lower" + fala "scaffolding, wooden siege tower", a word thought to be of Etruscan origin. The same Medieval Latin word also yielded Old French chaffaut, Modern French échafaud "scaffold". Scaffold itself comes from this French word at a different stage of development. Scaffold is a shortening of the late Old French form eschafaut "scaffold". The shift of [l] to [u] is common in many Indo-European languages, including English: in some dialects of English milk is pronounced [miuk], hill, [hiu], including right here in Pennsylvania. (It is difficult for me to confess that I am less adept than George Eliot at using catafalque humorously, so let's just thank Barbara Kelly for submitting today's Good Word.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3349
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: CATAFALQUE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:38 am

I have several times in my posts complained of the inaccuracies that came about when I followed the teachers' instructions to guess at the meaning of words by context. For this word, however, I was successful. The first I remember was in JFK's funeral, but I think the word also was used of the bier on which the casket laid in the horsecart. Nicht Wahr?
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2176
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: CATAFALQUE

Postby Slava » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:33 am

Perry Lassiter wrote:...I think the word also was used of the bier on which the casket laid in the horsecart.

Yes, I do believe this is the case. I would even go so far as to say this is what I have always believed it to mean. The catafalque is used to bring the casket to the bier, or the casket on the bier to the viewing stand.

As to a certain verb used in the quote, I do have objections. Possible corrections: "on which the casket was laid", or "on which the casket lay."
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4447
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: CATAFALQUE

Postby MTC » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:01 am

"I would even go so far as to say this is what I have always believed it to mean." That far indeed, Slava. Well, well...
And the tutorial on the distinction between "lie" and "lay," most instructive.

But back to cats,
"The conclave of cats caused catacoustics in the catacombs when they caterwauled around the catafalque covered with catadromous catfish."
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1066
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: CATAFALQUE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:53 pm

Should the Cincinatti Bengals build a new indoor stadium, might it be called the Catadrome?
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2176
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: CATAFALQUE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:57 pm

As a child we had lots of ceremonies in Church.
All Souls Day, November 2, was one such. And in the
center aisle reminiscent of a coffin we had a framework
built similar to Doc's picture, except it was raised about
six inches on all sides on the top, to resemble a coffin
more, I suppose. The Pastor called it the catafalque,
and told us to remember we are all dust and to dust
we shall return.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3313
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: Google [Bot] and 2 guests