Sunday, 26 January 2020

Bring back these words!

Char-a-banc  (From the French for "benched carriage")

Originally horse-drawn, later motorised.  Used for day trips and excursions. Had a giant and heavy hood for rainy weather.

Later supplanted by motor coaches. (In British usage a coach is the name for a point to point journey, either as an excursion or as a city to city road journey.  One would take a coach from London to Bristol. not a 'bus).

In my childhood and youth some of the old timers  (such as my grand-mother who was born in the 1880's) might still refer to a motor coach as a "sharrabang"  ( English pronunciation of the French word!), or more simply as a "sharra".



A vehicle used for furniture delivery, or for house moving (again, originally horse drawn)

From Pantechnicon, a 19th-century firm which owned a building with a Greek-style facade of Doric columns in Motcomb Street, Belgrave Square, London, UK, with a picture gallery, a furniture shop, a shop selling carriages, and a warehouse for storing customers’ furniture and other items. The firm used large horse-drawn vans to collect and deliver their customers' property, which came to be known as Pantechnicon vans.


Perambulator (Rooted in  the Latin  per-‎ ("through, along; during") + ambulō‎ ("walk; traverse").

A baby carriage.  My twin and I probably took our earliest journeys in a "Pram" as they were called.

The "Royal" babies are still transported in a Pram, at least for those special occasions which bring out the photographers.

Prams were never horse drawn, nor motorised.


One of my favourite words is "peregrinate" -  meaning to wander around with no special destination in mind.

When I was in Pittsfield I would take a mid-morning break walk from the office.  I would announce: "I am leaving for my morning peregrination  -  it's legal in public these days".

The word is also used for Peregrine Falcons.  It is rooted in the same word from which we get the word "Pilgrim".

Church Musicians will also be familiar with a form of Gregorian chant which is known as "Tonus peregrinus". 

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