[Loch-Ruadh] FW: Word of the Day: misericorde (dagger of death)

Jane Sitton jane.sitton at radioshack.com
Thu Jun 13 13:16:32 PDT 2002

TODAY'S eTIP(TM): misericorde (dagger of death)

misericorde [mi ZER i kord]


1. A narrow ledge on the underside of a hinged seat, as in a choir stall,
designed to support a person standing at rest against the turned-up seat.

2. A dagger used in the Middle Ages for giving the death stroke (coup de
grace) to a wounded knight.

     Suzanna wished the opera villain would deliver the final
     mercy with his misericorde by putting the off-key soloist
     out of her misery.

This handy medieval term (hey, you never know when you'll need a place to
lean in a choir stall) comes from the Middle English misericorde, which came
from Old French, which came from Latin misericordia, which in turn is from
misericors, meaning merciful, based on miserere, have mercy, plus cor,

I seem to recall in one of the Ellis Peters books that Brother Cadfael was
on occasion known to catch a nap in the choir stall... I wonder if he was
leaning on a misericorde?


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