Garniture – accessories in life

      • 1855Robert Browning“Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”, XVI:
        [] I fancied Cuthbert’s reddening face / Beneath its garniture of curly gold, / Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold / An arm in mine to fix me to the place / That way he used.
      • 1888Henry JamesThe Reverberator.
        They believed that the ladies and the gentlemen alike had covered them with endearments, were candidly, gushingly glad to make their acquaintance. They had not in the least seen what was manner, the minimum of decent profession, and what the subtle resignation of old races who have known a long historical discipline and have conventional forms for their feelings—forms resembling singularly little the feelings themselves. Francie took people at their word [] It would not have occurred to the girl that such things need have been said as a mere garniture. Her lover, whose life had been surrounded with garniture and who therefore might have been expected not to notice it, had a fresh sense of it now []

    I like new words.  New to me, that is.  I’d never heard the word garniture and if I had I wouldn’t have know how to use it in a sentence.  The above quotes give us examples from Wikipedia of the proper use of the words.

    Which means, an accessory of sorts, but one designed to enhance the object or person being so accessorized.  What my mother would have called “gilding the lily.”

    So a room with furniture but no garniture, would be a room with essential furniture only, but without any other decorations.  No table ornaments, no wall hangings or painting, no fancy lights, to mats on the floor or, for the matter, on the table.  A room without any style at all, in fact.  The kind of room preferred by my mother, due to her Swedish roots.

    The word has other uses.  Imagine that a “boy toy” for a wealthy movie star as garniture, making her look good.  Or yard ornaments to upgrade the garden.  Or nice pictures of food in a takeout restaurant, something to look at while your waiting for your take out dinner.

    Garniture.  Like furniture.  Bears the same relationship to garnish as furniture does to furnish.  Another interesting example of how the english language evolved from Norman French.

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