Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An Anthro Primer, Vol. 2

Hi, everyone! Hoping you're all having a great week. I didn't have time today to snap an OOTD photo, so I decided to revisit my "An Anthro Primer" post from a couple months ago, and turn it into a recurring-ish feature. Only "-ish" because it's unlikely to be regular, but I found it so interesting to learn about what was behind all these strange names, I've decided to inflict these posts on you from time to time. I know. I'm an Anthro-geek. I'm not ashamed. ^_-

1. Crepuscule Shift

See this adorable little frock? Why on earth would they name such a pretty little dress after a festering flesh wound??? I know, I know, I didn't understand it either. At least, not until I looked up the word, "crepuscule," and realized that it actually means, "twilight." C'mon, gimme a break. Like you knew that.  Even better? The dictionary's usage example: "From the deck of our sloop we watched as the island slowly faded from sight in the golden crepuscule of a beautiful Caribbean day." Uh huh. 

2. Picacho Dress: picacho is Spanish for "big peak." There are lots of places that use this word as a name, including a state park in Arizona as well as the location of a battle during the Civil War, a defunct gold-mining town in California (now also a state park), and a couple mountains bearing the name "Picacho Peak" in New Mexico in the US, as well as in Mexico, and other locations in Central and South Americas.

3. Atrament Maxi - atrament or atramentum, generally refers to a very black substance, usually a liquid. Apparently, an octopus can emit a cloud of atrament. And if you atrament something, you're literally writing it down with ink (black ink, that is). Also, shares the same latin root as the English word, "atrocious" - atrare, meaning to make something black.

4. Talauma Tunic - the Talauma is a genus of the Magnoliaceae family. So, in other words, a pretty, flowering tree.

5. Cherimoya Caftan - the Cherimoya is a tree native to the Andean highlands of South America. It runs about 7 meters tall, and bears an oval-shaped fruit with a soft white flesh and many black seeds, which is also known as custard apples. Mark Twain apparently called the Cherimoya, "the most delicious fruit known to men."

6. Silesia Maxi - a historical region of central Europe, located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts in the bordering nations of Germany and the Czech Republic. Apparently, it's been around forever, (some enthusiastic Wikipedia author used the phrase, "time immemorial," to describe it), and has been subsumed many multiple times, having been part of Greater Moravia, Bohemia, and the Kingdom of Prussia, as well as having stood as its own territory, (Independent Duchies of Silesia) for a while.

7. Halcyon Blouse - halcyon is a term meaning calm, peaceful, or tranquil. Its roots, however, are much more picturesque and even dramatic, as it's also the name of a mythical bird (often identified as a kingfisher - which is an actual and real sort of bird, and not mythical at all) which supposedly bred in a floating nest on the sea, at winter solstice. It had the power to charm the winds and waves into calm. 

8. Bojagi Pullover - the bojagi is a Korean wrapping cloth, usually a large square of silk, used for wrapping gifts, bundles of food (my mother, to this day, will wrap a doshirak - boxed lunch - with a colorful scarf, to make it easier to carry), and other items. (And just between you and me, I don't really know that this little top fits the bill...but it's nice to see Korea represented in Anthro's repertoire of names and naming.)

9. Huipil Tank - a huipil is a type of Mayan tunic or blouse worn by indigenous Mayan, Zapotec, and other women, living in central to southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and western Honduras. It's made by sewing together two or three panels of fabric, folding them in half, and then cutting a hole out of the center, for the head (very poncho-like). Usually embellished with decorative stitching and ribbon.

10. Nyanza Skirt - nyanza is a Bantu (one of 250 languages, of the Niger-Congo languages, including Swahili, Zulu, and Shona) word for "lake." It's also the name of a province in the southwest of Kenya, surrounding (appropriately) Lake Victoria. There's also a town called Nyanza in the Southern Province of Rwanda, where stands the old Royal Palace of the Rwandan Monarchy.

So there you have it! The latest installment of the Anthro Primer. Hope you enjoyed it, and as always, thanks for reading!

P.S. Just wanted to wish my DH a happy anniversary (should he be reading this). Love you, darling. ^_^


  1. Hi Carole, I completely overlooked that bojagi pullover! My mom and MIL also uses it to this day to wrap various gift with!  I like this post !!! 

  2. Interesting read! Anthro item names are becoming increasingly eclectic and esoteric. ;)

  3. I love words, so I enjoy this feature of yours. Keep on keeping on:)

  4. Hi Carol! Steph's business is Halcyon Lab! Also, happy anniversary to you and your husband!

  5. I LOVE that you're doing this. Thank you for being an Anthro nerd!

  6. I adore that you wikipedia-ed all these anthro numbers :) As a fellow linguist-dork myself, I already had to google a few of those. Thanks for the entertainment!

  7. Keep these posts coming! I love reading about this stuff too. I literally knew none of these definitions before reading this post, and find the strange, deep stories behind them fascinating. Please keep it up!

    Also, Happy Anniversary Carol!

  8. Very interesting post! I'm always wondering how clothing gets named. Thanks for doing the research for all of us :)

  9. Love it, lady!  I keep track of every Anthro names and their means on a text file myself! hahah!   Been doing that for about 5 years!

  10. Thanks- that was fun, again.  I love the names, although they are certainly falling for some difficult ones these days.  I bet anthro lovers would do well in a spelling bee.  oh man, I totally want to participate in an anthro spelling bee/ fashion show now (wherein participants garbed head to toe in their anthro pretties must spell a range of names from past years, and bonus points if you can recognize the garment in question!!)
    alstroemeiria FTW!!