Posted by: Jack Henry | March 8, 2022

Editor’s Corner: British Story, French Words

Hello, my coworkers and friends! I hope this finds you healthy and happy! Today I have a few more words from recent movies I’ve seen that I’d like to share with you. These words all have recent ties to French, but I believe I heard them in the movie Spencer, about Princess Diana and her nerve-wracking time with the British monarchy (aka the royal family). I did not like the movie, but here are the words I’ll cover: luthier, archetier, and equerry. (There’s also a small chance one of the words might be from The Power of the Dog.)

A luthier (pronounced LOO-tee-er) is someone who makes or repairs string instruments “that have a neck and a sound box.” (From Wikipedia) The name comes from the French word for lute, but it graduated over time to cover violins, cellos, guitars, and other similar instruments.

The craft itself (called lutherie) is divided into two different categories, depending on whether the instrument is plucked or strummed (like a guitar) or played with a bow (like a violin). Once there is a bow involved, there is another French word and title you’ll come across: archetier. An archetier is a bow maker for the lutherie instruments. Interestingly, our English words archery (shooting arrows with a different kind of bow) and archer are also from the same root.

The final word is equerry. Like our English word equine (related to horses), equerry comes from Latin and then French. Also from Wikipedia, “An equerry is an officer of honor. Historically, it was a senior attendant with responsibilities for the horses of a person of rank. In contemporary use, it is a personal attendant, usually upon a sovereign, a member of a royal family, or a national representative.” Here’s the etymology from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

equerry (n.)

royal officer, especially one charged with care of horses, 1590s, short for groom of the equirrie, from esquiry "stables" (1550s), from French escuerie (Modern French écurie), perhaps from Medieval Latin scuria "stable," from Old High German scura "barn" (German Scheuer); or else from Old French escuier "groom," from Vulgar Latin *scutarius "shield-bearer." In either case, the spelling was influenced by Latin equus "horse.”

After all of this movie vocabulary, I thought I would find the date for the Academy Awards for you. When we were in the office, it used to be a fun time of year with some who would dress up and others who put together a contest we’d run during Toastmasters. This year, you can catch the awards on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

No matter what you see or read or hear, there’s always time to learn a few new words!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

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