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

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

6 Responses to “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: K is for … Old Words”

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

  2. Catherine says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  5. Sharn White says:

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

  6. Alona says:

    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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