Dec 22, 2010


Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word or phrase I came across that I have never previously used.

tintinnabulate (tin-tin-AH-byoo-layt) v. to ring; to sound like a small bell; to make a tinkling sound, like the chime of bells.

I knew that this word was somehow related to bells, as I recognized the Latin root word tintinnabulum ("bell"). I came across the word tintinnabulate in an 1874 collection of the works of John Ruskin:
Which indeed it is; and travellers are always greatly amused at being allowed to ring this bell; but it never occurs to them to ask how it came to be ringable:—how that tintinnabulate roof differs from the dome of the Pantheon, expands into the dome of Florence, or declines into the whispering gallery of St. Paul's.
Here, though, Ruskin used the word tintinnabulate as an adjective, whereas modern writers would be more likely to use the adjectival forms tintinnabular or tintinnabulous.

And no: you may not ring my bell.


Quimbob said...

inneressing. I know the word from the Ed Poe poem The Bells.

Engineer of Knowledge said...

Hello Mike,
I wanted to take this time and wish you and everyone who reads and participates on this most excellent blog a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years Holiday.....this includes a Season's Greetings of the Winter Solstice for those inclined.

microdot said...

I was going to quote Poe as he really does use the phrase, The Tintinnabulation of The Bells!
On the other hand, I have tintinitus....from my exposure to loud amplified own fault, but worth every second of it.

And I had come here to wish you a very happy holiday...

c said...

In the sixties, which I vaguely remember, there was a vinyl album released called "Tintinnabulation". It was exactly what the title implies and was perfect for those mellow days and nights.