Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Gold and Citron Spangled Hamburg Bantams. Photo by Ryan Zierke



Verb trans. L16.
[from BE- + SPANGLE noun]

Decorate or adorn (as) with spangles.

Bespangle is rather an awkward word. It's heavy and ungainly, and it tastes of newly bent steel and piping.


Ah. So that's just me, then. 

Ah well ...

Bespangle is a word of magic and mystery, all the same. The night sky is bespangled, heaven only knows how or why, and all we poor sublunary creatures can do is gaze and shiver in awe at the colossal miracle above us.

Well, gaze, shiver in awe and send up the Hubble telescope, anyway.

But whether it's a trapeze artist's costume that's bespangled:

Or a fifteenth century bishop's cope:

The purpose is the same: to bewitch, bedazzle and bewilder the senses, and sprinkle over the wearer an illusion of the divine.

Sally Prue

I'm very proud to introduce the award-winning children's writer Sally Prue as today's guest poster. Sally's book Cold Tom won the Branford Boase Prize and the Smarties Silver Award, and The Truth Sayer was short-listed for the Guardian Children's Book Prize. She also writes The Word Den, a blog with the most wonderful tagline 'ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.'  I couldn't agree more, so a magniloquent welcome and grandiloquent thank you to Sally for writing in Lexicolatry - this is all rather exciting! Ed


  1. It's rather exciting indeed! I'm just wondering how you (Ed) bribed Sally into writing for you.

    I like this word, sounds like a party in my mouth! ^^
    Hey, did you know chickens are really soft?! I didn't know that until I was 12 and got to pet one. Pleasantly surprised!

  2. Hey! How do you know that it was me that asked Sally, and not Sally that asked me?? Well ... OK ... it was me that asked Sally - but that's irrelevant! And certainly no bribery was involved ... none that we're going to admit to publicly anyway : o )

    And yes ... chickens are amazingly soft and beautiful birds. We kept them as a family, but I had forgotten just how beautiful they are until a particular visit to my parents house a couple of years ago. I was helping my Dad put them in for the night when I thought: "Wow! Us cityfolk don't know just how pretty some chickens are!"

  3. I'm very proud to be here, on the marvellous, amazingly bespangled, and highly informative Lexicolatry.

    And, Bibi - all I can say is, flattery works absolute wonders.

    1. Yeah, he's good with words, that Ed!

      Thank you for today's word, Sally! And for the chickens, they brought back memories ^^

    2. Ed is grinning bigly right now : o D

  4. Glad to read this post!

    I was trying to remember where I had seen this word. Then, I remembered. (In the process, I googled bespangled flag... Didn't work!)


    I'm off to visit Sally's blog now. :)

    1. The 'star-spangled banner' was the only thing I knew the word from, Evi - I didn't even know what a spangle was!

      And yes ... have a squizz at Sally's blog ... you won't be disappointed : o )