Monday, September 19, 2011

fata Morgana



fata Morgana [ˈfɑtɑ mɔrˈgɑnɑ] n.

1.) A kind of mirage most frequently seen in the Strait of Messina, attributed in early times to fairy agency. Also fig. (Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition).

Etymology: Italian fata, a fairy; Morgana, sister of the British legendary hero Arthur, apparently located in Calabria by the Norman settlers.

"The truth is, I now see, Coleridge's talk and speculation was the emblem of himself: in it as in him, a ray of heavenly inspiration struggled, in a tragically ineffectual degree, with the weakness of flesh and blood. He says once, he "had skirted the howling deserts of Infidelity;" this was evident enough: but he had not had the courage, in defiance of pain and terror, to press resolutely across said deserts to the new firm lands of Faith beyond; he preferred to create logical fata-morganas for himself on this hither side, and laboriously solace himself with these" (The Life of John Sterling, Thomas Carlyle, 1851).

(Fata Morgana, George Frederick Watts, 1865)
__________________________________________________

Hi all, it's time to announce the winner of this week's contest. It's...Lemons Don't Make Lemonade! She wrote:
"Nothing amuses me more than observing tyros go about their studies," William said, a smile playing on his lips. "I would fain disturb the first-years with sophomoric pranks, but I cower at the thought of the master's rod. The master's hand is as heavy as his wife." I couldn't help but giggle at his impertinent remark. "I disagree. The schoolmaster is a formidable man with the vim of people half his age, but my fear of his cruel philippics surpasses that of a sore bottom. He told Frederick that he was an obtuse baboon destined to a life of cuckoldry and shame...and all because Fred pronounced a French verb wrongly." "If we took the matter up to the headmaster, I'm sure he'll put a stop to such abuse." "Keep on dreaming, William. If the marquis couldn't get our schoolmaster to apologize for insulting his son, then, a fortiori, neither can a lowly headmaster."
Well done, Lemons. You even used "a fortiori" correctly. I'm starting to fear for my beloved copy of The Iliad already! Okay, so next week's words are oenomel, invidious, panegyric, intransigent, megillah, incipient, and slake. Good luck and thanks for reading!

19 comments:

Viitoebe said...

Morgana sounds great.
I guess it would be nice to see the mirage of it. But just me, not my bf. hahaha

meandmythinkingcap said...

Congrats to LDML. She should enter some spellingbee contest or play scrabble for money
This word - sounds much more fancier than mirage. Love it.
And that picture. sexy :)

D4 said...

I'm still not sure how this one's used, but I'll deal.

And wow, Lemons is impressive. Congrats to her!

JayJay said...

Wow. What a great paragraph. Go LDML!

I knew more about the etymology than the actual meaning of the word.

Anne said...

That was a nice piece of writing by LDML. I'd love to catch a Fata Morgana with my camera. Yellowstone Park in the morning would be a good place to go because the temperature differentials could bend the light enough to create one. Thanks for the word, it's given me a new photography goal.

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

I have 2 points now. YAY.

Interesting word.

I like the picture. ;)

HYDRIOTAPHIA said...

Fata Morgana appears in Prokofiev's opera 'Love of three Oranges'. Thanking you for the idea for a post, as regards Vitruvius !

Melanie said...

i love how it sounds!

Mai Yang said...

Morgana? haha. I know someone whose name is Morgana. hehe! ^_^
Anyway, Congrats to Lemons Don't Make Lemonade ^_^

DEZMOND said...

we have this exact word in my language too. We used it for the image that you think you see when you are lost in a desert.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Congrats, Miss Lemons! Clearly, your success is no fata morgana.

Shutterbug said...

Lemons: You definitely have a career in writing! :)

MRanthrope said...

I have a coworker named Morgan who we sometimes call Morgana....I'm calling her "fata" today, wish me luck!

Henry said...

Isn't this one just a proper noun?

Wintermute said...

i meant shutterbug, what did you think I meant? haha

Natasha said...

I love this word. Anything to do with the supernatural or fantasy and I am there, and I love how it was used in the prose you posted as well. Well done to LML, that was a brilliant piece of writing. xxx

It'sJodie-Ann,Bro. said...

Cool! Fata morgana. Awesome hehe xD

A Beer for the Shower said...

I'm sorry, it has nothing to do with the post, but as a word-loving Buff, did you ever shoot the shit with Pete Kratzke?

Jennifer Fabulous said...

I didn't want to have to tell you this...but your robot woman thinks she's better than me. I can hear it in her voice. :S

Post a Comment