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* * Party Game: Sir Gawain Glossary Game


Sep 22 2019, 1:29pm

Post #1 of 18 (2674 views)
* * Party Game: Sir Gawain Glossary Game Can't Post

Yesterday, as if in honour of today, I was thrilled to find a tidy 1st edition “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—Pearl—Sir Orfeo” by J.R.R. Tolkien (1975) at our local rare and used bookstore! (I picked up a not so tidy, but no less enchanting “Beowulf and The Finnesburg Fragment” trans. John R. Clark Hall with prefatory remarks by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954) as well, a text for another time.)

Published posthumously by Tolkien’s dear son Christopher, unlike his earlier effort with E.V. Gordon in Middle-English, this Gawain is written in contemporary English, though peppered with words archaic as was our professor’s wont. As such Christoper included a glossary of archaic words used in the 1975 edition, hence our game!

For the following words from the 1975 glossary, please make your best guesses:

1. Blear
2. Buffet
3. Churl
4. Dolour
5. Fain
6. Hap
7. List
8. Palfrey
9. Rood
10. Wist

Happy birthday Bagginses!


Sep 22 2019, 3:55pm

Post #2 of 18 (2612 views)
My guesses [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the game, SirDennis!

1. Blear
2. Buffet -- to knock about, as in buffeted by a storm at sea?
3. Churl -- to bully or be in a bad mood? (I'm vaguely aware of someone being "churlish," which I think is either "grouchy" or "hostile.")
4. Dolour -- Well, "dolorous" means "sad" or "depressed," I think, so: sadness, gloom, depression. See FUNK.
5. Fain -- I think this is "would have," as in "I fain invited you to my party if I had known you were in town."
6. Hap -- Well, "hapless" is "unfortunate," so I'm guessing this is "good fortune" or "luck."
7. List -- As in a ship listing to one side, meaning tipping? But it also has something to do with jousting pageants, I think, and not just a bulleted list of names. [Stumped.]
8. Palfrey -- something to do with horses. You ride a palfrey horse. If that means it's purple or green, fat or skinny, I don't know.
9. Rood
10. Wist -- as in wistful? See FUNK.

That was tough, but my brain appreciated the challenge.


Sep 22 2019, 4:14pm

Post #3 of 18 (2608 views)
Guesses [In reply to] Can't Post

Hmm, let's see:

1. Blear - to obscure (as in blur)?
2. Buffet - to knock about.
3. Churl - rude or ill-mannered person.
4. Dolour - tiresome? I would need to look up 'dolorous' to be certain.
5. Fain - be obliged.
6. Hap - short for 'happen'.
7. List - lean.
8. Palfrey -a riding horse.
9. Rood - reckon, suppose.
10. Wist - desire (verb).

Happy birthday Bagginses!

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Sep 22 2019, 4:17pm)

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Tol Eressea

Sep 22 2019, 5:55pm

Post #4 of 18 (2598 views)
Oooh... [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Blear - bleary, smudged, foggy?
2. Buffet - clout, thump, batter
3. Churl - uncouth person
4. Dolour - sadness
5. Fain - much rather .g. I would fain be elsewhere
6. Hap - happen?
7. List - listen?
8. Palfrey - well-mannered riding horse
9. Rood - cross
10. Wist - know e.g. he is an uncouth churl, I wist?


Sep 22 2019, 6:19pm

Post #5 of 18 (2590 views)
Ha- Almost! / [In reply to] Can't Post


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Sep 22 2019, 7:44pm

Post #6 of 18 (2594 views)
Uh-oh. [In reply to] Can't Post

Some of these are beyond my ken, so I'll have to make some guesses:

1. Blear - bleary?
2. Buffet - toss about
3. Churl - knave, uncouth person
4. Dolour - sadness
5. Fain - desire or want to, as in "I fain would partake of that last piece of cake".
6. Hap - happened
7. List - queue
8. Palfrey - grey-coloured horse
9. Rood - trying to recall what "Holyrood" means! House/building?
10. Wist - to know, as in "I wish I wist these answers".



"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Sep 22 2019, 11:23pm

Post #7 of 18 (2587 views)
Way above my pay grade [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Blear - hazy or haze
2. Buffet - knock about
3. Churl - ungrateful or lower-class person
4. Dolour - sadness
5. Fain - willingly, desirous
6. Hap - chance or luck
7. List - allow to happen
8. Palfrey - a kind of horse or pony
9. Rood - rod or stick, signifying authority
10. Wist - wish for

Great quiz, Sir D. I read this poem (well, parts of it) in middle school but it's been a long time. But as you imply, Tolkien loved this kind of vocab and snuck it into his books as often as he could. For instance, I remember that Arwen rode a palfrey into Gondor for her wedding to Aragorn - and like a fool, not knowing I'd have to take this quiz years in the future, I never looked it up to see if it was a kind of rig pulled by horses, or a kind of horse that ladies rode.

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Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 23 2019, 12:11am

Post #8 of 18 (2580 views)
Arhcaic? I still use some of these! [In reply to] Can't Post

One or two, anyway :)

1. Blear - dull, dim, as in bleary eyed
2. Buffet - a knock, thump
3. Churl - a low fellow
4. Dolour - sadness
5. Fain - would like to, as in "fain would I"
6. Hap - chance
7. List - listen (I think Shakespeare used "list" in this sense in Hamlet)
8. Palfrey - a horse - I'm thinking a lady's mount
9. Rood - a cross, as used in "rood screen"
10. Wist - (drawing a blank here)

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Na Vedui

Sep 23 2019, 1:37am

Post #9 of 18 (2569 views)
Words [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Blear - Is this an adjective? If so, it might be related to bleary, implying unclear, messy, blurred. Perhaps referring to a foggy, murky outlook or landscape. Sounds dismal.
2. Buffet - verb: to hit, thump or noun, a hit, a thump
3. Churl - a person of low birth and/or manners
4. Dolour - grief, sorrow, pain
5. Fain - desirous of, wanting to
6. Hap - chance occurrence
7. List - ? to listen, pay attention
8. Palfrey - a horse
9. Rood - a cross, Christ's cross. As in the poem "The Dream of the Rood"
10. Wist - knew, know (not sure which tense)


Sep 23 2019, 2:56am

Post #10 of 18 (2578 views)
Answers - if you haven't played yet, nothing to see here! [In reply to] Can't Post

But first some comments:

Thank you squire! Palfrey (a horse favoured by ladies) is common enough in Arthurian literature, but I did not remember seeing it in Middle-earth texts.

As most of us have read at least some of Tolkien's works, most of us have encountered some of these words before, or perhaps elsewhere (Kimi mentioned Shakespear for example). Many so far, clearly, and correctly, pulled the glosses from memory. Some of the words could be reasoned out, such as hap; others must have been encountered before, such as rood and palfrey, in order to guess their contemporary analogues.

Na Vedui struck upon the "what have I got in my pocket"-esque spirit of the quiz: without seeing the words in their original context, it's difficult to discern if a word is a noun, verb, or adjective. Context is indispensable when glossing words. According to Christopher Tolkien in his note on the glossary: "This glossary provides no more than the meanings of some archaic words... used in the translations, and only the meanings that the translator intended in those contexts (which in a very few cases may be doubtful)." I'm fairly certain that some of the words in our list have more than one meaning, for instance, erm, list.

All of the words apart from "Fain" have been expressed correctly (in the context of Tolkien's Gawain (1975) anyway) at least once in the answers made so far. Here are the words and their glosses as they appear in the text:

1. Blear - Dim
2. Buffet - Blow
3. Churl - Common man
4. Dolour - Sorrow
5. Fain - Glad
6. Hap - Fortune
7. List - Wished
8. Palfrey - Small saddle-horse (especially for the use of women)
9. Rood - Cross
10. Wist - Knew

Well done and thank you for playing!

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Sep 23 2019, 3:06am)

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Sep 23 2019, 11:42am

Post #11 of 18 (2528 views)
Ah-ha! But does the answer to #2 mean [In reply to] Can't Post

"blow" as in wind, or "blow" as in hit?

And the text is where I must have gotten the impression that a palfrey was grey, because Arwen was riding "a grey palfrey". (It's amazing how some phrases stick in the mind.)

Rood=cross! I forgot about "rood screen", that would have give me a better clue! Laugh

These are fun, Sir D. You should test us with them more often! Smile


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Sep 23 2019, 3:19pm

Post #12 of 18 (2508 views)
Sir Gawain Glossary Game - my answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Middle English is not my bailiwick, but I think I can answer most of these. However, in some cases I must assume the part of speech.

1. Blear - bleak and dreary.
2. Buffet - a strong blow, as from a fist.
3. Churl - a free male commoner, or a contemptuous man.
4. Dolour - sorrow or pain.
5. Fain - gladly.
6. Hap - luck.
7. List - wish or desire.
8. Palfrey - a type of horse used for riding.
9. Rood - the Holy Cross.
10. Wist - to know. (I'm not entirely certain of the person or tense, but I would guess 2nd person [familiar] present.)

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


Sep 23 2019, 8:25pm

Post #13 of 18 (2474 views)
let's see....... [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Blear - tired?
2. Buffet - it's either a spread of food or to hit someone
3. Churl - um. how to put it into words. a common and slightly oafish person?
4. Dolour - sadness, gloom
5. Fain - i can use it in a sentence but heck if i can define it
6. Hap - happen
7. List - probably a jousting field, but could also mean to tilt
8. Palfrey - a riding horse
9. Rood - um. genuinely not sure here
10. Wist - to yearn?


Sep 24 2019, 1:25am

Post #14 of 18 (2475 views)
Wow! What great treasures!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll bet you were shaking by the time you got to where you paid for them! :D Congrats on your very cool finds!
Now... I won't even pretend to have a clue on what these are; but I'll make a flying gramma-stab at them!
1. Blear - When I'm first waking up and my vision goes from blear to an extended bleary. Coffee fixes all!
2. Buffet - Long table of wonderful eats!
3. Churl - A Canadian game where they slide large vegetables across a polished floor. It was the birth of bowling.
4. Dolour - Unattractive, dull colours.
5. Fain - Fake rain. It gets dark, clouds are rolling, thunder and lightning fill the air... but water never comes.
6. Hap - Almost happy?
7. List - tipping too much to the right or the left. Usually at the mercy of drink or an inner-ear infection.
8. Palfrey - A horse usually ridden by Elven Queens and Princesses
9. Rood - The opposite of nice.
10. Wist - Wist this Wing I dee Wed.



We have been there and back again.

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Sep 24 2019, 4:44am

Post #15 of 18 (2455 views)
Here be the line: [In reply to] Can't Post

‘If I brisker had been, a buffet, it may be,
I could have handed thee more harshly, and harm could have done thee.’

Found toward the tale’s end, this line is said by the Green Knight as he explains to Sir Gawain that he could have landed a fatal stroke had he chosen to do so. Therefore we can safely say “buffet” here means blow as in strike or hit. From the context of the overall tale, and the challenge issued to Gawain by the Green Knight, it is clear he is referring to a blow from his axe.

Looking at the construction again however, by the inclusion of the word “brisker” the translator (Tolkien) might have been playing with buffet’s dual meanings: concerning wind, to gust or blow; and doing violence, for instance, by axe strike or blow.

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Sep 24 2019, 4:52am)

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 24 2019, 11:40am

Post #16 of 18 (2389 views)
*giggles on cuppa tea* [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh gosh, gramma, now I'm going to be thinking of that "Mawwaige" scene all day! Laugh


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Sep 25 2019, 2:47am

Post #17 of 18 (2359 views)
Classic gramma [In reply to] Can't Post



Sep 25 2019, 2:22pm

Post #18 of 18 (2299 views)
I'll go... [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Blear - to confuse a people into an unnecessary war

2. Buffet - a Rich American

3. Churl - Swiss website address

4. Dolour - lamentable exchange rate of the greenback

5. Fain - alternative to British English 'effing': a polite substitue for a common swear-word (e.g. "In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society."- Henry David Thoreau)

6. Hap - downloadable program for a medieval smartphone

7. List - Left wrist

8. Palfrey - a trio of friends

9. Rood - NSFW material

10. Wist - wight wrist

"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Sep 25 2019, 2:25pm)


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