An Old Feature with a New Twist

On this blog, we often used to like to feature particular words that we thought might be of use to proofreaders and copy-editors. We also liked to bring up words that might be of interest to general readers. Most often, we would just focus on words that we happened to like, regardless of relevance or usefulness.

Over time, we rather forgot about this section. Sad, I know, but life got in the way. We think that’s rather a shame, so we’re bringing the words back. Ta dah! Here they are! 

lavinia lemmanA slight twist this time, though. We’ve enlisted the help of our friend Lavinia Collins to come up with a new format: Medieval Word of the Week. They may not appear exactly once a week – it’s more likely that they’ll go up as and when we feel like it; we’re a rebellious lot, us proofreaders and editors – but that seemed like a snappy title.

So, here goes. We hope you enjoy it.

Medieval Word of the Week

Welcome to Lavinia’s Medieval Word of the Week! We’re always making new words, but we’re also always losing old ones. Fear not! I have trawled the texts of the past to bring you the juiciest morsels!

This week’s word is: Lemman.

What does it mean? The MED defines it as ‘A loved one of the opposite sex: (a) a paramour, lover’. Lovely.

How should I use it? Lemman is a wonderful word because it can be used of anyone! Fine knights have their lemmans, as do those of the peasant classes. Ladies have ’em, men have ’em – it’s truly an equal opportunities term. It can also be used of your spiritual beloved, if you have one of those. So whack it out in conversation!

tru nite lemman

Fancy a night with this knight? Free lance looking for lemman.

Use it in a sentence:

1) I met my lemman in a goodly bower and he wooed me with great song.
2) I met my lemman on Tinder.
3) He has long been my lemman, but since he got Pokémon Go I am not so sure about him.
4) In truth, my cat is my lemman, and I am not sorry about it.

About the Author:

Nick is a freelance proofreader and copy-editor who has worked for Chapterhouse for about as long as he can remember. He is the co-founder of Court Oak Tutors, and is very fond of Percy Pigs.


  1. Pola December 23, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I’d be glad to clepe a devotee of etymology my lemman! Here’s a piece I did on some Regency Satire which I hope makes you laugh: https://theescritorium.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/regency-sunday-satire/

    • Daisy January 11, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Lovely stuff. Just tweeted about it!

  2. Kai Rabenstein January 14, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    “On this blog, we often used to like to feature particular words that we thought might be of use to proofreaders and copy-editors. ”

    Are you actually sending yourself up, or is this a hidden test for your students?

    May I suggest a bit of copy editing, e.g. “On this blog to date we [have] liked to feature particular words that might be of use to proofreaders and copy-editors.” (which is still rather vague) Or, “This blog was originally set up to feature …”; the subsequent paragraphs eventually get around to conveying your proposed change from random/contemporary featured Words to Medieval ones, but do so in a somewhat convoluted way. Maybe you simply wished to fill the available web page space, but a larger font size could also have achieved that purpose.

    However the intention is laudable and probably welcome to your readers as being a bit exotic (or having novelty value, excuse the chronological pun). So carry on merrily Lavinia!

    • Nick January 20, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Interesting suggestions. I wonder, though, whether they wouldn’t change the sense of the original a little too much. Copy-editors must always be wary of making broad changes to the tone and style of an author’s work; there is always the risk of changing your client’s meaning or, worse, alienating him/her.

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