January 8 – 30


vert caseSMDecade by decade our colloquial language changes. Words used to describe common tools, household items and topics are no longer commonly used. This exhibit provides a selected A-Z look at words that are obscure or infrequently used in common language today. Some words are illustrated with pictures, while others show actual objects courtesy of Hamersly Library Staff.







is for Awl : a pointed tool for marking surfaces or piercing small holes (as in leather or wood)


is for Buttonhook : a hook for drawing small buttons through buttonholes on clothing or shoes


is for Colonnade : a series of columns placed at regular intervals


is for Demijohn : a large narrow-necked bottle usually enclosed in wickerwork


is for Epergne : an often ornate tiered centerpiece consisting of a frame of wrought metal (often silver or gold) bearing dishes, vases, or candle holders or a combination of both


is for Farthingale : a support (as of hoops) worn especially in the 16th century beneath a skirt to expand it at the hipline


is for Guipure : a heavy large-patterned decorative lace


is for Hammerstone: used to flake large areas in making flint tools


is for Inkwell : a container for ink


is for Jabot : 1. a fall of lace or cloth attached to the front of a neckband, worn in the 18th century 2. a pleated frill of cloth or lace attached down the center front of a woman’s blouse or dress


is for Kohl : a preparation used especially in Arabia and Egypt to darken the edges of the eyelids


is for Lye Soap : boiled lard and lye water make lye soap. Lye soap wasn’t made for the purpose of personal hygiene, but it was made to soften and de-louse textiles.


is for Mortise : a hole or slot into which some other part fits or passes; a cavity cut into a piece of material (as timber) to receive a tenon


is for Nimbus : an indication (as a circle) of radiant light or glory about the head of a drawn or sculptured divinity, saint, or sovereign


is for Ovolo : a rounded convex molding, often a quarter section of a circle or ellipse.


is for Parapet : a low wall or small barrier to protect the edge of a platform


is for Quern : a hand-mill for grinding grain made of two circular stones


is for Riparian : relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater


is for Snood : a net or fabric bag pinned or tied on at the back of a woman’s head for holding the hair


is for Tatting : a delicate handmade lace formed usually by looping and knotting with a single cotton thread and a small shuttle


is for Ullage : the amount that a container (as a tank or cask) lacks of being full


is for Vexillology : the study of flags


is for Washboard : a corrugated rectangular surface that is used for scrubbing clothes or as a percussion instrument


is for Xylograph : (wood engraving) the art of making engravings on wood especially for printing


is for Yawl : a fore-and-aft rigged sailboat carrying a mainsail and one or more jibs with a mizzenmast far aft; a jolly boat


is for Zither : a stringed instrument having usually 30 to 40 strings over a shallow horizontal soundboard and played with pick and fingers


Special thanks to Michele Kliever, Kathleen Casey and Carol Tripp for loaning items from their private collections for this exhibit.


LOCATION: 2nd floor Gallery.
Curator: Jerrie Lee Parpart