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9 May 2011

Monday's Word - Filemot


I don't want to depress you.  Here in the UK we've been enjoying an early spring.  The hedgerows  and fruit trees are bright with blossom and I already have roses budding in my garden and strawberries beginning to fruit.  However, do you realise that it's only four or five months until those same hedgerows and trees will take on hues of gold, orange and brown before they shed their autumn garments and winter sets in?

Ok, that's just my way of leading us into today's word, courtesy of Michael Quinion, 'Filemot'.

He states quote:

"This word is now so rare that people who write about it tend to quote from one of its last unforced appearances, Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur from as long ago as 1880 ("each compartment crowded with
labelled folios all filemot with age and use"). Here's another, from a little earlier still:

    October now. All the world swings at the top of its beauty; and those hills where we shall live, what robes of color fold them! Tawny filemot gilding the valleys, each seam and rut a scroll or arabesque, and all the year pouring out her heart's blood to flush the maples, the  great impurpled granites warm with the sunshine they have drunk all summer!

You may by now have guessed that "filemot" (said, if you please, as three syllables, and not as "file-mot") is a colour, the russet or brown colour of dead autumn leaves.'


Personally I think that the beautiful autumn colours are in their own way just as beautiful as the myriad greens and flamboyant colours of spring and summer. (The picture above was taken from the field adjoining the one where I keep my horses, looking out towards the bridle path.)

So what do you think about the 'filemot' colours, and what do you think is the most colourful or beautiful season?


*World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion 2011. All rights reserved
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