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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: Off Topic:
"Eyot" lost me a game of Scrabble.
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Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 15 2008, 7:57am

Post #1 of 40 (448 views)
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"Eyot" lost me a game of Scrabble. Can't Post

I play a lot of Scrabble with my dad and bro and I get loads of pleasure making "Tolkien" words that are unfamiliar to both of them. Dad and bro usually need to resort to one of the two dictionaries we have (one is the Webster's English Dictionary and the other is the American Heritage Dictonary of the English Language) to confirm that I'm not making things up in such cases Wink Few such examples are whin, nowt, quag and other such strangeely-spelt words.

One such thing happened yesterday. I made "eyot" and then sat back comfortably with a smirk on my face as my dad checked one dictionary and then the other. A few minutes later I was taken aback to find out that the word was in neither dictionary. I got a negative score, had to take back my alphabets, and pass my turn (a rule we came up with to prevent wrong words blocking up the game board Crazy). Anyway, in the final tally, I lost.

But I was more flustered about "eyot" not being in the dictionaries than by losing. Now my "Webster's" is pretty old - but not too old - possibly a 90's edition since I bought it during school, and the "American Heritage" is about 4 - 5 years old. So what could be a possible reason for not having a word that Tolkien wrote decades before? I'm pretty intrigued.

Anyway, that's a rhetorical question but if anyone wants to pitch in, I'm all ears. I've done a Google "define: eyot" and I'm going to print that page out as proof. I want to save face. Plus, I don't want Tolkien's works (and words) to lose credibility in my dad and bro's opinions.

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 15 2008, 8:17am

Post #2 of 40 (277 views)
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Get an Official Scrabble Words [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't do definitions, but has every word you've ever heard of and a lot you haven't!

I'm surprised "eyot" wasn't in your dictionaries though. It's a perfectly good word. There's a lump of land in the middle of the Thames up by Chiswick that's known as Chiswick Eyot - it's still in use!

Figwit Still Lives!



Calling for a Figwit cameo in The Hobbit since May 2008


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 15 2008, 9:31am

Post #3 of 40 (278 views)
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Oh no! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's in the OED, of course (with an entry from 1883). But buying the OED just to settle Scrabble arguments might be overreacting :-) Eled's suggestion is a good one.


My writing (including The Passing of Mistress Rose)

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Morthoron
Gondor


Oct 15 2008, 11:29am

Post #4 of 40 (265 views)
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Yes, I saw it in the OED... [In reply to] Can't Post

But in the American Webster's New World Dictionary, it was not. It would seem it is defined on several dictionary sites on line, but not on the Merriam-Webster site; thus indicating 'eyot' is used almost solely in a British English sense, and not at all in American English

THE EARL OF SANDWICH: "Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"
JOHN WILKES: That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."
John Wilkes (1727-1797)


Peredhil lover
Valinor

Oct 15 2008, 2:45pm

Post #5 of 40 (249 views)
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Just looked for it [In reply to] Can't Post

in my English-German (book) dictionary it isn't listed, but the online dictionary I use most of the time has that word listed. According to them, it is British, so maybe that's the reason why you didn't find it in an American dictionary.

But you can tell your dad and bro that you were right!

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Oct 15 2008, 5:00pm

Post #6 of 40 (373 views)
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"Catherine Stimpson singles out 'eyot' as an example of Tolkien's poor writing..." [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
"...If we expect 'He came to an island in the middle of the river,' he will write 'to an eyot he came'"(25). This cavil is effectively demolished by Rosebury, who notes (among other errors by Stimpson) that the phrase "to an eyot he came" never appears in LotR (65-66).


That's a footnote on the "infamous 'eyot'" in Michael Drout's excellent 2004 essay, "Tolkien's Prose Style and Its Literary and Rhetorical Effects" from the first volume of Tolkien Studies. You can read that online here (click "Free Sample Issue" at left).

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Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 15 2008, 7:10pm

Post #7 of 40 (252 views)
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Whether or not ... [In reply to] Can't Post

it's "poor" writing - and I too would disagree with Stimpson - it's still a perfectly good word in the right context!

Figwit Still Lives!



Calling for a Figwit cameo in The Hobbit since May 2008


Smeagirl/Girllum
Gondor


Oct 15 2008, 9:07pm

Post #8 of 40 (239 views)
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IIRC, I once had that problem with "drey." [In reply to] Can't Post

drey = a squirrel's nest. (I don't think Tolkien ever used this word, but he should have, don't you think? It's a good one.) It wasn't in the official Scrabble dictionary or the other dictionary we had handy (don't remember which one), but I was so adamant about its realness as a word that my mother let it stand, and I didn't have to lose a turn.

My mother still won that game though. She can beat anyone at Scrabble. She's a master at putting, like two or three tiles and making four new words out of it (two of them on a triple word score), and soon a whole section of the board is solid tiles with no spaces for new words. Crazy

FWIW, I think the "official Scrabble dictionary" is totally stupid. There are lots of "words" in there that never were real words.

Darn it, I was about to hit submit, and now I'm wondering if the word might've been "vair" (a squirrel pelt, or the pattern thereof). It was an archaic squirrel-related word.

Yesterday, a young squirrel was barking at me. I wish I knew Squirrlish.



"I think it is a sad story," said the wizard, "and it might have happened to others, even to some hobbits that I have known."





dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 15 2008, 10:05pm

Post #9 of 40 (236 views)
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Speaking of "squirrels"... [In reply to] Can't Post

In The Hobbit, before meeting Beorn, Gandalf mentions that he is a skin-changer, and Bilbo says: "What! a furrier, a man that calls rabbits conies, when he doesn't turn their skins into squirrels?"

I have looked all over, and cannot find anything which defines a rabbit-fur wrap - or some other rabbit-fur object - as a "squirrel"!

Have you ever come across that term?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


Eruwestial37
Rohan

Oct 15 2008, 11:34pm

Post #10 of 40 (231 views)
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I hate to say it, [In reply to] Can't Post

but it isn't in my 4th Edition Scrabble Dictionary.
I play the CD version and I just checked its dictionary and it's not there either. Sorry!

I have found quite a few words that were in the Official dictionary but not permitted by the CD game.Pirate Now I just check any questionable words with the game's dictionary before playing them. Saves me a lot of points.

So sorry you lost your game!

Eruwestial


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 15 2008, 11:42pm

Post #11 of 40 (328 views)
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I've always thought [In reply to] Can't Post

that's a joke; that Bilbo is referring to rather shady characters who sell (cheap and common) rabbit fur as the more desirable squirrel fur; i.e. they "turn" their rabbit skins into squirrel for commercial purposes.

Squirrel fur was prized for ceremonial use. Here's an extract from the OED listing for "miniver":

A kind of fur, now always plain white, used esp. as a lining and trimming for ceremonial costumes and formerly in the making of certain kinds of hat or cap; a pelt or piece of this fur. Cf. VAIR n., ERMINE n. 2.
The French menu vair or petit-gris is the red squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris, in its winter coat, which is greyish with white underparts. In the 13th and 14th centuries the fur of this animal was commonly used for the lining and decoration of ceremonial costumes, with the dark and white fur forming an alternating pattern. In England it became fashionable to cut the grey and white fur apart and treat them separately (see pured gris, pured miniver at PURED adj. 1, PURRAY n.), so that miniver came to be used of any pure white fur. In 1688 R. Holme explains miniver as ‘plain white fur’, and this is probably the meaning of the word as used with reference to the costume of judges and the lower nobility in the 16-17th centuries. In this sense the term was revived in the official regulations for the coronation of Edward VII, and it has since had some currency in descriptions of the ceremonial costume of peers.


And for vair (which Smeagirl has already linked to details of above):

A fur obtained from a variety of squirrel with grey back and white belly, much used in the 13th and 14th centuries as a trimming or lining for garments. Now only arch.


I'm sure you know that vair is by some commentators considered to be the real origin of Cinderella's glass (verre) slippers.

This is just the sort of wordplay I imagine the Professor enjoyed.


My writing (including The Passing of Mistress Rose)

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


(This post was edited by Kimi on Oct 16 2008, 3:05am)


Morthoron
Gondor


Oct 16 2008, 1:00am

Post #12 of 40 (204 views)
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The word 'vair'... [In reply to] Can't Post

is an integral part of Heraldry, and many lordly houses have some form of vair emblazoned on their coats-of-arms (Anjou and the Sires de Coucy, for instance)

THE EARL OF SANDWICH: "Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"
JOHN WILKES: That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."
John Wilkes (1727-1797)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 1:55am

Post #13 of 40 (213 views)
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So Tolkien is actually alluding to [In reply to] Can't Post

a substitution of rabbit fur for squirrel fur! And all this time I thought it was some clothing term which was either very local, or had gone out of style by our time. I suppose that back in the days when real fur was prevalent, everyone knew about switches like that.

That vair/verre etymology is very intriguing, I don't think I've heard that before!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 6:22am

Post #14 of 40 (201 views)
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Yeah... [In reply to] Can't Post

... looks like I'm gonna have to get that official scrabble dictionary.

"Chiswick Eyot" showed up in that Google search and it got me wondering if that was the inspiration for Tolkien's eyot Smile

Also, I recalled that Oliver Twist and Bill Sykes passed by Chiswick on the way to Maylie's house in Shepperton for the burglary that changed little Oliver's fate Cool

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.

(This post was edited by Earl on Oct 16 2008, 6:24am)


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 6:26am

Post #15 of 40 (184 views)
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You know... [In reply to] Can't Post

... I might just purchase the OED. At the risk of coming across as a word-geek... I love dictionaries Tongue

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 6:36am

Post #16 of 40 (187 views)
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Word-geeks [In reply to] Can't Post

are in good company here :-)


My writing (including The Passing of Mistress Rose)

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 6:36am

Post #17 of 40 (187 views)
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Ahhh... that darned American-British difference [In reply to] Can't Post

Being in India we were taught British English back in school. Plus, coming from a family who's ancestors came to India from Aden (now a city in Yemen which until 1937 was ruled as a part of British India) to Goa (Portuguese colony on the west coast of India until 1961), I've been brought up speaking British English. When studying for the GRE I had a miserable time "unlearning" all of this because of the difference in spellings but I'm glad to say I've emerged with a good knowledge of American English as well Smile

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 6:38am

Post #18 of 40 (178 views)
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Yeah... [In reply to] Can't Post

... and I just responded to Morthoron about the British-American English differences Smile

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 6:48am

Post #19 of 40 (187 views)
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Just read that... [In reply to] Can't Post

... thanks for the link N.E. Brigand. That was a rather interesting read.

And I'm inclined to agree with Eledhwen Tongue I remember referring to "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and in the introduction he says:

"It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation. Unless he is certain of doing as well, he will probably do best to follow the rules. After he has learned, by their guidance, to write plain English adequate for everyday uses, let him look, for the secrets of style, to the study of the masters of literature."

Makes me wonder now if Tolkien considered himself a master of literature. He is in my opinion anyway Wink

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 6:57am

Post #20 of 40 (191 views)
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The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

Book I - Chapter 2 - The Shadow of the Past...

"The Wood-elves tracked him first, an easy task for them, for his trail was still fresh then. Through Mirkwood and back again it led them, though they never caught him. The wood was full of the rumour of him, dreadful tales even among beasts and birds. The Woodmen said that there was some new terror abroad, a ghost that drank blood. It climbed trees to find nests [dreys]; it crept into holes to find the young; it slipped through windows to find cradles." Wink

Though I wonder if Tolkien was referring to the nests of birdses and not squirrelses. I suppose since Gollum liked eggses it had to be birdses Cool

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 7:05am

Post #21 of 40 (184 views)
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Wow... [In reply to] Can't Post

... what a mine of information. Is it wrong that all this got me excited? Tongue

Except for the fact that the whole concept of fur tugs at my heart and my mind is going "the poor little furly squirrels" Frown We have a family of brown and black striped ones that live somewhere on the mango tree outside my house. They're very wary (there's lots of cats and crows about) and I sometimes sprinkle nuts from my balcony when I see 'em scurrying across the pavement in search of food.

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 7:10am

Post #22 of 40 (180 views)
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I was going to add... [In reply to] Can't Post

... that in The Hobbit we learn that there were "big black squirrels in the wood" so those could have been dreys as well Smile Heheh, there's my first use of that word.

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Oct 16 2008, 7:45am

Post #23 of 40 (177 views)
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Can't imagine Chiswick Eyot inspiring many people! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's only inspiration for rowers, because it generally means you've nearly finished your race!!

Figwit Still Lives!



Calling for a Figwit cameo in The Hobbit since May 2008


stormcrow20
Gondor


Oct 16 2008, 8:06am

Post #24 of 40 (214 views)
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Squirrlish [In reply to] Can't Post

Try a squirrel caller. Wink

Unlike most people who put out seed for birds, I actually enjoy watching the squirrels more than the birds, and don't mind that they claim the feeders for themselves. I've seen a squirrel caller in the sporting goods department at wal-mart, and I've considered getting one just for the fun of it. It makes about five different sounds, if I remember correctly.

~~~~~~
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." -Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)

Believe in the possibility of the impossible.


Smeagirl/Girllum
Gondor


Oct 16 2008, 12:50pm

Post #25 of 40 (168 views)
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So in a Mirkwood coat of arms, does "vair" = "sable"? :-D // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



"I think it is a sad story," said the wizard, "and it might have happened to others, even to some hobbits that I have known."




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