Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Architects have all the best words

Wainscot, flange, lintel, cornice, cantilever, weephole, balustrade, sill ... oh my ... quoins.

13 comments:

TimT said...

I'm sure there's a Quoin called Wuoin who goes to the Mardi Gras every year.

TimT said...

Also 'plinth', one of those wonderful scrabble-able words consisting of five consonants to only one vowel.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

And let's not start on castle words. Portcullis. Ramparts. Castellation. All right. Let's start on castle words.

nannygoathill said...

My favourite architecture-scrabble word is 'dado'; not worth much in itself but good for building something onto 'dad'.

Castle words (bastion, donjon, motte-and-bailey...) lead naturally on to the even racier fortification terms, which so obsessed poor Uncle Toby in Tristram Shandy - glacis... contramure... breastwork...

Jayne said...

Give me a revetment any day!
And I'll show you an abutment to make even Mae West blush :P

lucy tartan said...

Flying Buttresses. Snigger snigger snigger

Ampersand Duck said...

Hang on... what is the architectural significance of the word QUOIN? How is it used in an architectural context? It's a LETTERPRESS word, and I'm asserting dominant rights to it's weirdness.

[gets all huffy]

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

The OED offers this, for "quoin":

1. Building.

a. Originally: an external angle of a wall; an outer corner of a building. Subsequently also: any of the stones or bricks serving to form this angle; a cornerstone.

b. An internal angle or corner of a wall, esp. of a room. Also: a recess in a wall, as for a gate; = hollow quoin n. at HOLLOW adj. and adv. Special uses 1b.

2. a. Printing. A (typically wedge-shaped) device used to lock up a forme of type. Now chiefly hist.

c. Naut. A wedge placed between or among casks stored on a ship, so as to prevent them from moving. Now rare.

d. Building. The keystone, or any one of the wedge-shaped stones, of an arch; = VOUSSOIR n. Obs. rare.

3. An angle; an angular object. Obs. rare.


You'll be pleased to hear, though, Duck, (even if you do have to share "quoin" with builders and boatswains), that there's a really super article on @, the arobase, in this week's London Review of Books, and you can read it here: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n10/soar01_.html

x

TimT said...

I was reminded of that lead character in 'The Shipping News', Quoyle. Also that old-fashioned anthem:

Gawd save our grashus Quoin,
Lawng live awr nooble Quoin,
Gawd save our Quoin!

Ampersand Duck said...

Now chiefly historical! [splutters]
I use one nearly every day!

Ahem. Thanks for the link. If they would only include them in the Californian job case, I wouldn't have to create a selection of polymer arobases in various fonts...

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Pah, those Californian job cases. Wouldn't trust them as far as I can ... erm ... am I allowed to throw them?

Jayne and Lucy, you could really make this architectosmuttology work for you, you could. Come to think of it, so could you, Nannygoat. And you, Timoth.

Anonymous said...

My favourite is "astragal" - I put in every specification and get abusive phone calls from roof plumbers. I just think it sounds like a female super hero. It's the thingy that holds the downpipe to the wall, but probably also a term in letterpress or petty serjeantry or something.

Beth's dad again

Hugo the Hippo said...

I have been convinced of this ever since the day one Sparry Burr took exception to me questioning the religious meaning of "mitre" and went on to accuse me of being a refugee from engineering...