Wondrous Words Wednesday: Bill Willingham

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) and interesting (to us, again) words we encountered in our readings. See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog!

My words for this week come from Fables 11 – War and Pieces, a graphic novel with text by Bill Willingham.

(ASIDE: Oh my, oh my, I can’t believe I’ve let a whole week go by with no posting! I’ve had too much on my hands lately. but I’m still here, promise!)

*****

Does she give you any hard labor? No, she gives you every cushy job.

Cushy: adj. undemanding, easy, or secure.

I guess this is one most of you will already know, and it was also quite clear, but I had never heard it.

*****

This might be a bit of a pickle.

Pickle: n. informal a difficult situation.

I also found the following explanation, which makes sense to me:

This expression travelled from Holland to England in the 16th century. The Dutch version was in de pekel zitten, ‘to sit in the pickle’, pekel being the liquid, brine or vinegar, in which food was preserved.

*****

The real name for the invasion is “operation Jack Ketch.” But I kept that mum because the name actually contains a clue within it of our long-range strategic plans.

Jack Ketch: an infamous English executioner employed by King Charles II. Because of his botched executions, the name “Jack Ketch” is used as a proverbial name for death, Satan, and executioner.
*This definition comes from Wikipedia

I missed this reference throughout the book, I’m glad to understand it now.

*****

That’s my own little secret, Child — tucked away where no fell power can discern it.

Fell: adj. literary of terrible evil or ferocity.

Or at least, this is the only definition of fell that seems to fit here.

*****

(All definitions are taken from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 via WordReference.com unless otherwise stated.)

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12 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: Bill Willingham

  1. I knew cushy and pickle – those are used fairly commonly here. I find fell very interesting because it’s a familiar word used in a non-familiar way. Thanks for playing along!

  2. I never knew why we say we’re in a pickle! Thanks!

    Yep, ‘fell’ means evil there. It’s the sort of word Tolkien would use to describe the Black Riders, if that helps. 🙂

  3. @ all: I imagined most of those would be widely known. Oh well.
    @ Melanie: if you get to use Jack Ketch in an everyday conversation, I want to hear about it 🙂
    @ Dangermom: ahem… I never read Tolkien in English. I first read LoTR in Italian, and when I came across the English originals of some names I was disappointed — so I guess I always sticked with Italian because of the names… But thank you for mentioning it.

  4. I knew cushy and pickle, but not the history of pickle — thanks!

    Cushy, by the way, is pronounced with the ‘u’ sound in push, not the ‘u’ sound in gush. I’m not sure if I learned that from reading that I would pronounce it properly.

  5. Fascinating to learn about Jack Ketch. I’ve just been learning a bit about Charles the second via Horrible Histories!

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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