March 26, 2007

Blue Stocking

Blue Stocking - A woman with strong scholarly or literary interests.

Semantica gets its first contribution from a member of the fairer sex(!!!!) . And I decided to commence the journey with an expression that's tickled and tingled moi over years. Blue Stocking, when researched led me to times as long back as 1400, when ladies and gentlemen in Venice formed a society called della calza (of the stocking) , whose members were distinguished by the color of their stockings. By 1590, the fashion spread to Paris, where it became the rage (that should not surprise anyone). It took almost 2 centuries to reach England where in early 1750's, Mrs Elizabeth Montague, an English writer and society leader, along with other women started a women's literary discussion group, a revolutionary step away from traditional mindless women's activities. They invited various people to attend, including a botanist, translator and publisher called Benjamin Stillingfleet. He wasn't rich enough to have the proper formal dress which included black silk stockings. So he attended in his normal clothes, wearing blue stockings.This started a trend. The husband of one of the group members derisively referred to the meetings as the "Blue-Stocking Society".

There's another lesser-known and most likely untrue tale about the coinage. It seems that, late in the eighteenth century, two romantic and eccentric young ladies moved from Ireland to Wales (a town called Llangollen). Determined to lead an intellectual life and vowing never to marry, they seem to have spent much of their time knitting blue stockings. The house, till date is open to tourists every day of the year, though it's widely accepted that they could not have coined the term.

Source: Dictionary of Word and Pharse Origins, Vol II

1 comment:

666 said...

bravo! didnt knew about Blue Stockings!

do give labels -> colors, women .. we can then segregate them accordingly.