I used to regularly choose a word and write about it… maybe I should start doing that again!
Here is something I wrote four years ago:
I was writing a comment on an article about the The Deer Stone at the medieval religious site of Glendalough; The Deer Stone is a bullaun stone… which is a big stone or boulder with a man-made hollow like a basin in the top of it. The article mentioned that no-one really knew what they were made for, maybe as a primitive mortar to grind things; I’ve seen these stones at holy sites and just assumed they had been carved contemporaneously with the religious building as a stoup for holy water.
I spelled the word ‘stoup’ as ‘stoop’ and then that didn’t look right so I checked it and then was amazed to find how many different meanings there were for both spellings.
A stoup, which can actually be stoop, comes from Old English, and originally from Scandinavian and Old Norse (no, not Latin and French this time) and can mean a basin or even font for holy water in a church, or a drinking vessel like a tankard, or a bucket or pail.
Stoop which can only be spelt stoop is a very which means to bend down, which my very tall husband, 6′ 6 ½”, has to do very often. Stooping itself can be done for a variety of reasons, like my husband has to do to go through low doorways, to demean yourself by lowering your standards, to debase yourself to someone else, or – as with birds of prey, to swoop down on your victim. This verb can be used as a noun to describe the way someone walks ‘with a stoop’.
I have also found another meaning of stoop, which I would have known if I’d read it in context, but forgot about it, stoop as the little raised bit at the top of steps before the door… oh and one thing I didn’t know, a stoop can be a pillar or a post.
So there you are, stoop and stoup!
And if you want to know more about the Deer Stone, have a look at this excellent blog: