Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: K is for … Old Words

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: K is for … Old Words

July 22, 2012 in All Posts, FH Through the Alphabet

Almost half way through the Family History Through Alphabet Challenge, and  my head has decided to go on holidays, it has had no bright inspirations for the letter K at all. I’ve been trying to come up with something super exciting for K for the past couple of weeks, and still nothing! So for this post I’ve decided to take a look in my copy of “What Did They Mean by That?: A Dictionary of Historical and Genealogical Terms Old and New” and list a few of the old words starting with K that are in there.

K is for … Old Words

I probably should be writing about my Kelly family from the Isle of Man, or the Kemp’s from Cornwall, or Mr Lonetester’s Kerslake or Kuchel families, but I don’t feel that I have done enough research on any of them to do them justice at this stage … so they shall wait for another day … and old words it is today!

keck: a very early term to vomit, to retch.

kelderkin: a small barrel.

kersey: a heavy wool and cotton fabric used for outer coats.

kick the can: ‘tag’ of sorts, timed by reaching a kicked can.

killing time: that time of the year, quite usually late Autumn, when swine and cattle were slaughtered and the meat prepared or preserved for the Winter.

King’s Evil: draining and widespread eruptions on the body and, as were many diseases, thought subject to being cured by a touch from the king (or queen); also meaning a disease or affliction apparently affecting glands in the neck.

King’s X, King’s Cross: a very ancient expression by which children declare themselves temporarily exempt from game rules.

kippacks: shoes homemade by the poor or rural settlers and fashioned of three pieces of leather, one upper, one for the sole, and for the heel.

kitchen table: a medium sized, sturdy, drawered table, occasionally with one or more small bins mounted below the drawers.

knee buckle: buckles used to fasten breeches below the knee.

knell, birth knell, death knell: early, knell was the south of a bell rung at a funeral; now, any sound signalling a birth, marriage or death.

knight: that rank of British honour next below a baronet. Since mediaeval times, a person who has been accorded that non-hereditary dignity by a sovereign of Britain.

knock down at auction: the accomplishment of a sale at auction, signalled by the banging of a small wooden hammer by the auctioneer.

knot tray: a open small container, sometimes with a lid, used to hold/store fancy head or dress decorations, often called knots.

kraut cutter: a common wooden kitchen utensil, usually from 18-36″ long and 6-9″ wide having a sliding platform that moved to and fro across a sharp blade thereby shredding cabbage (and other fruits and vegetables). Also known as a cabbage chopper.

So there you go, there’s a whole bunch of K words most of which you haven’t heard of, and probably won’t ever use. But if you read through all of them, I bet you actually learned something. I know I did when reading and typing them out. Now the trick will be to remember them ….. hmmmmm

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  1. Helen V Smith (@HVSresearch) - July 22, 2012

    Lots of interesting terms here. Now let’s see you use some of these as your “Word of the Day”!

  2. Catherine - July 24, 2012

    WOW!!! I love all those wonderful words, Alona. Only a couple I’ve heard of. King’s X made me smile and I remembered how we used to cross our fingers and say “barleys” for the same reason. Wonder if crossing our fingers was related to the Ancient expression of “King’s X”? … fascinating. Thanks.

  3. Fi - July 24, 2012

    Nice work! The only K word in my brain rhymes with wrap. Very unfortunate indeed. And it isn’t even a K word. Krumbs!

  4. Crissouli - August 16, 2012

    My favourite is kippacks… I’d never heard of that, but found it interesting and quirky…. so now to remember…

  5. Sharn White - August 18, 2012

    Love those words!! Kippacks and kelderkin are my definite favourites!!

  6. Alona - August 18, 2012

    There are some cool words are there. But knowing my head, and the lingo today – I doubt I’ll ever get to use any of them, and therefore won’t remember them either.

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