Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tintinnabulation! (Or...Sometimes I Get Confused)

What a glorious word...tintinnabulation. It simply rolls off the tongue. And it has so many syllables and letters. It's sure to impress students of English. Yesterday, I thought I'd finally found an opportunity to show off my mad word skillz to my husband. 

I thought

I was wrong.

Just a refresher here. Tintinnabulation is the lingering sound of a bell after it has been struck. The word can be found in Edgar Allen Poe's poem, "The Bells."

       Hear the sledges with the bells -
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

I know you are dying to hear how I misused, and abused my new vocabulary word. So, here's the dealio.

Chuck called on his way home last night, as he always does, and told me about a swarm of swallows he was watching. 

"Oh, Honey! I know what that is called! You're talking about when the birds fly in formation, and the shape of them shifts and changes, right?" Yes, he was talking about that. "It's called a TINTINNABULATION!"

"It is? I didn't know that."

That's all it took. I knew my brain had let me down. I strained to think back to when I'd learned the REAL word for a swarm of swallows. It was over a year ago, about this time of year. 

One of my writing friends had posted a word of the day graphic on the My 500 Words page on Facebook, citing the word  and definition. Of course, I'd SEEN swallows swoop and twist and fly in formation, but I'd never known there was a word for it. I loved learning the new word for the swarm of swallows. But the word was not tintinnabulation. 

In a panic, I opened my MacBook, and scrambled to find the word. A-ha...there it was. The word was (drumroll please)...


So close. Well, the last six letters matched up, at least. Sometimes I hate my brain. The older I get, the more it lets me down. 

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