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star-spangled
Posted: 04 July 2017 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
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star-spangled (adj.)
1590s, from star (n.) + spangle (v.); Star-Spangled Banner “United States flag” is 1814, from Francis Scott Key’s poem (printed in the “Baltimore Patriot” Sept. 20).

From: etymonline.com

Just so we, in the U.S.A., do not forget what the our flag looks like and what it represents. Time to refocus.

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Posted: 05 July 2017 12:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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In British military and governmental dress regulations (and therefore the terminology of people who embroider such dress and supply the materials for it) spangles are flat shiny metal discs, as distinct from sequins which are faceted ones. .

I don’t know if the uniform regulations of any other English-speaking country make this distinction. Fashion designers and suppliers of fashion materials don’t seem to; as far as I can see they treat the words as synonyms.

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Posted: 05 July 2017 03:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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spangles are flat shiny metal discs, as distinct from sequins which are faceted ones. .

That’s an odd distinction to make, since sequin derives from zecchino, a medieval Venetian gold coin with no facets at all, whereas spangle has a much more general sense. However --- clothing designers (even military ones) are not required to be knowledgeable about6 numismatics.

SL: do you know in what sort of military apparel sequins and /or spangles are (or were) actually used? It would never have occurred to me to expect to see either, in any form of military dress.

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Posted: 05 July 2017 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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sequin derives from zecchino

Which of course is irrelevant to its meaning in English.

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Posted: 05 July 2017 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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SL: do you know in what sort of military apparel sequins and /or spangles are (or were) actually used? It would never have occurred to me to expect to see either, in any form of military dress.

I don’t know if any of the British armed services use them today - hand-embroidery is too expensive. (Ceremonial robes such as those of chancellors and chief justices, and the uniforms of royal households, are another matter.) But it used to be quite normal. In the period of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, the rank badges on British officers’ epaulettes were frequently made of or accented with spangles, e.g. the vice-admiral’s stars on Admiral Nelson’s epaulette.  And in the high Victorian period, when British officers paid for their uniforms themselves, posh regiments such as the Guards and the cavalry liked to have even the regimental distinctions on their collars and cuffs done in elaborate embroidery rather than simply in strips of applied gold or silver lace* which less fashionable and well-heeled regiments had. Here for example is the cuff of a Grenadier Guards lieutenant dating from around 1900; if you look closely you’ll see that not only is there a row of overlapping gold spangles underneath the couched-down gold twist that forms the frame of each of the ‘buttonholes’, but that each of the raised oval motifs is sitting on a ring of spangles, too.

* And that’s another technical distinction observed by nobody else: in the regulations for British services uniforms (and therefore the people who make it, etc.), the woven metal narrow fabric applied to cuffs, collars and caps is called gold or silver lace, whereas the rest of the English-speaking world calls it braid. Much confusion ensues, because two types of metallic braid are also used in uniforms - Russia braid, more generally known in the fashion world as soutache, and French braid.

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Posted: 05 July 2017 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’ve created an entry on the Big List (a day late)

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Posted: 05 July 2017 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Many thanks, SL. Remarkably informative (and at some points, mind-boggling). 

Nice entry, Dave. I’d never have believed that “star-spangled” went back so far in history.

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Posted: 05 July 2017 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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So what’s the “hæleð” in hæleð-helm ‘helmet of invisibility’?

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Posted: 06 July 2017 03:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Remarkably informative (and at some points, mind-boggling).

Victorian military and naval embroidery just is mind-boggling. If it weren’t military (and therefore beneath their notice), applied-arts historians would rave about it the way they do over medieval opus anglicanum and 17th-century stumpwork. It’s an impossibly lavish, fine, detailed, miniature style. Take, for example, this pair of admiral’s epaulettes. Every stripe in those beautifully-graduated padded rolls round the ends is made of an individually-applied piece of one of four different types of gold thread. The fringes consist of two rows of gold bullions; the large ones in the outer row are so-called ‘dead-and-bright’ - that is, spun out of alternating round-section and square-section threads which catch the light differently and add depth to the bullions’ sparkle. The badges were made separately and applied to the completed epaulette: the sword-and-scabbard badge is solid engraved silver, pinned through the strap, and the crown and star are made up on a backing of card, with padding to make then 3-D. Only look at all the different materials and techniques that have been applied to make up that crown, right down to the ‘tails’ on the ermine trimming around the base. And the whole badge is only about an inch across!

But the largest area for embroidery in military uniform is the cavalry officer’s sabretache. Its practical purpose was as a saddle-top desk - you just hauled it up by its straps, pulled your notepad out of it and rested the pad on it to write your orders or report - but just look here at what could be made of it as a metal-thread showpiece. Lace, spangles, padding, passing thread, twist, purl, plate, velvet appliqué, a fire-gilt metal badge…

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Posted: 06 July 2017 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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languagehat - 05 July 2017 02:11 PM

So what’s the “hæleð” in hæleð-helm ‘helmet of invisibility’?

Hæle or hæleþ is a root that refers to man or hero. Hæleð-helm is literally “warrior’s helmet,” but is understood to be a poetic metaphor for covering or deception. It appears twice in the OE corpus; the other instance is in the poem The Whale. Both instances have Satan donning the helmet in an attempt to deceive humans. In his translation of The Whale, Christopher Jones translates it as “concealing cover,” which gets the point across without seeming to Harry Potterish (yes, I know, it’s a cloak of invisibility in Rowling’s novels, not a helmet), but Genesis with it’s reference to clasps presents the imagery that is clearly that of a helmet.

I would have thought that it simply meant “helmet of men,” and that Satan was taking the guise of a human. But that doesn’t fit the context of either poem, in which Satan presents as a serpent and as a whale. Also this portion of Genesis (Genesis B) is a translation of an Old Saxon poem, and I don’t know the use of the cognate compound in that language. In any case, virtually all the sources agree that the metaphoric sense of deception/concealment is what was intended.

I might change my translation to “helmet of concealment,” to make it a bit less fantastic. Still thinking about that.

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Posted: 06 July 2017 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Yeah, I wouldn’t use “invisibility” unless that’s definitely what it meant—that whoever wore it could not be seen at all.  Since that doesn’t seem to be the case, I’d go with something vaguer, like “concealment.”

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Posted: 06 July 2017 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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What incredibly skilful work! At some point all this elaboration of uniform tends to spill over into the preposterous, and the wearers are in danger of becoming the butts of humorous writers, like Gilbert, Shaw, etc.  I was lucky enough to watch part of the Coronation procession of H.M. Queen Elizabeth in 1953. In addition to all the royalty and nobility, most of the Imperial General Staff appear to have been there, wearing enough gold braid (now I know it’s lace ;-) to sink a battleship. All those admirals and air marshals who had opted to go on foot from the Palace to the Abbey (that and horseback were their only options) had to prance around like dervishes, to avoid stepping in the huge quantities of horse doody left behind by the ceremonial carriages and Army mounts. They weren’t always agile enough......I remember thinking that Westminster Abbey must have reeked like a busy stable that day.

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Posted: 06 July 2017 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Ha!  Thanks for that vivid, indeed pungent, recollection.

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Posted: 07 July 2017 01:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I’m sure I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. What a boon for this board it is that Dave decided to take his degree in Anglo-Saxon!

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Posted: 07 July 2017 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Yes indeed!

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Posted: 07 July 2017 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Both instances have Satan donning the helmet in an attempt to deceive humans.

Covers the horns, don’t you know.

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