Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weird Word of the Week: Reticule

Madame L chanced upon this word in "Aunt Dimity and the Duke," by Nancy Atherton.*

In this book, a reticule is a small handbag, with netting and a drawstring, decorated with embroidery or beading (which is Google's definition of the word). Ruth and Louise Pym, 90-something-year-old twins whom the heroine of the story meets early on, carry reticules.

Google also provided Madame L with a plethora of images of reticules, such as this one.

Madame L loves the very idea of such a reticule and hopes you, her Dear Readers, will do a Google image search to see some of the many lovely variations of reticules.

Madame L had heard the word in another context, though, so she looked it up to be sure, and, sure enough, a reticule is also the "network of tiny lines that make up a sighting device's eyepiece" (which is the definition of the word). These could be in a gun scope or sight, a telescope, or a microscope.

Madame L was fascinated to learn that the word reticule, which is also sometimes spelled "reticle," comes from the Latin "reticulatus," because of the net-like pattern, which comes from the Latin "reticulum," or "little net."

Madame L would love to have read a spell like "Reticulatus!" in the Harry Potter books resulting in a spider-web-like net being thrown over a bad guy. Even better, she would love to read a book in which little old ladies like Ruth and Louise Pym are carrying their dainty little reticules while looking through a telescope's reticule.

*Madame L will write a review of this book, anon ("soon, shortly"). Madame L is inspired to use words like "anon" when she reads words like "reticule" in books like "Aunt Dimity and the Duke."

1 comment:

Ellen said...

What a fun word! Now I'm wondering if the word 'retina' comes from the same root. You know, eyepiece, eye, retina. Maybe the retina is a net that holds the eyeball together. I like Madame L's uses of the word, and I would love to read a book written by Madame L such as those she describes from her imagination.