Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Serial Update, Part the Second: Books!

My delightful books from David Brown Book Company arrived. David Brown had sent me an alluring sale catalog which coincided nicely with my annual bonus at work. (Note: I actually spent more on clothes. Whoah.) The Spanish Apocalypse is fantastic! It is a huge book, so the manuscript (reproduced in full) is life-sized. Happy me!

Among the assorted other topics was one that I incorrectly guessed—I was under the impression that it was a catalogue of short excavation reports or something. However, it is actually about filters to filter liquids. It looks to be rather interesting in its own way, and is an abundant source of geometric patterns, which is always a good thing, and I have a general weakness for ancient objects. But it would have been worth the whole $7.98 for this sentence from the introduction: “Hence the containers must be cheap, rather light-weight insofar as the liquid itself supplies the balancing weight, generally porous if coolth is desired, and of an easily stored and replicable shape.”

Coolth!!! I have wanted that to be an official word for years, and am exuberantly pleased that some courageous scholarly soul has seen fit to commit it to print in an official publication. The above citation is from Fustat Expedition Final Report Vol.1: Catalogue of Filters, by George T. Scanlon. The filters are ceramic, and the perforated bases were made in many lovely patterns. They date from about 700 to about 1500.

Update: I was inspired to look in my dictionary this morning. Would you believe it, coolth is in my dictionary? I have had the word in my possession, in print, since I was 12. I can't believe I never looked it up before. I've wanted it to be an official word for years. In any case, there it is. I am still immensely pleased to have spotted it in use.


Kim Switzer said...

About coolth--according to etymonline: "Coolth, on model of warmth, is occasionally attested since 1547, and was used by Pound, Tolkien, Kipling, etc."

Phiala said...

And the OED saith:
1547 with the wonderful spelling of coulthe
1611 as cooth
and later as coolth, or coolthe
and used by all the excellent writers that Kim mentioned.

I was very excited to find a made-up word, "wodget", that we use to describe the dog's goofy behavior, used in exactly the same way by Connie Willis in one of her short stories, though she spelled it "wadget".

I figured that I must have run into it somewhere and came up with it without remembering, but the OED doesn't list it with either "o" or "a". So now I'm quite confused - Connie Willis and I made up the same word? The OED is wrong? Google doesn't list either usage in a similar way (wodget == widget).