Thursday, March 14, 2013


pendent [ˈpɛndənt] a.

1.) Hanging; suspended from or as from the point of attachment, with the point or end hanging downwards; dependent. Of a tree: having downhanging branches. Formerly often following its noun, especially in Heraldic use.
2.) Overhanging; jutting or leaning over; also, descending in a steep slope; slanting; placed or hanging on a steep slope.
3.) fig. Overhanging; impending. rare.
4.) Hanging in the balance, remaining undecided or unsettled, pending.
5.) Grammar. Of which the grammatical construction is left incomplete (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Edition).

Etymology: originally pendaunt, adopted from French pendant: noun use of present participle of pendre, to hang. About 1600, this began to be written pendent, after Latin pendens, pendentem, and this has now become the more frequent spelling, though pendant is often used, especially in senses associated with those of the noun.

"There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death."
(Hamlet, William Shakespeare, 1604)

(Ophelia, Odilon Redon, ~1903)


Ed @ Lexicolatry said...

Hmm. This stopped me in what I was doing; it is a particularly striking and beautiful adjective. Thank you E.

Evi @ sexta-feira said...

I read the excerpt three times to take it all in and I'll probably come back later to re-read it. The colors of the painting contrast with the words "muddy death" in such a strangely beautiful way.

I also have an irrelevant and indiscreet question which you have every right not to ever answer: What are your family connections to GoT?

Bibi said...

Everything related to "pendre" reminds me of Pendule in Beauty and the Beast. Oh wait, that's only in the Dutch Beauty and the Beast. :( In English he's called Cogsworth. Pft, I prefer Pendule.

A Beer For The Shower said...

A word so beautiful I must immediately add it to my vocabulary. Now, if only I could find something to write that wasn't puerile and offensive, maybe I would have a need for it...

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