Saturday, 11 January 2014

Canopy - Oh Chute!

Photo courtesy of the US Navy


Noun & verb. Late Middle English.
[medieval Latin canopeum baldachin, alteration of Latin conopeum, -ium net over a bed, pavillion 
from Greek konopeion Egyptian bed with mosquito curtain, from konops mosquito.]

A1 noun. A covering suspended or held over a throne, bed, person, etc.; an awning. LME

A2 noun. generally. A covering, an overhanging shade or shelter (often applied figuratively to the sky). E17

A2(b) noun. The upper branches of the trees in a forest, as forming a more or less continuous layer. E20

A3 noun. ARCHITECTURE. A rooflike ornamental projection over a niche, door, tomb, etc. L17

A4 noun. An overhead covering forming part of the upper structure of a vehicle etc.;
especially the cover of the cockpit of an aircraft. L19

A5 noun. The expanding part of a parachute. M20

B verb trans. Cover (as) with a canopy. Frequently as canopied. participial adjective. L16

If you're in need of a little classy convo at your next soirée, why not eruditely tell your guests that the word canapé means sofa in French, and is related to canopy in English which ultimately comes from the Greek for 'bed (or sofa) with mosquito curtains'. That's good, right? Mosquitoes at a dinner party? Well it's better than talking about the weather.

Do please leave any comment on the canopied divan of wisdom below.


  1. The Greeks had mosquito curtains? You'll be telling me they had astrolabes and canal locks, next.

    1. Well I don't know if they did, Sally ... maybe mosquito nets were just the Grecian dream ... a bit like our time machines, teleporters, and cheeseburger printers.

  2. The things a Greek person learns when they read Lexicolatry. Wow. And apparently that's why the modern greek word for couch is kanapes. All this time I thought it was a French loan.\

    1. Great! More info to keep the convo going - "And in fact, the modern Greek for couch is kanapes ..."

      Lexicolaters the world over are going to be such a hit at the next dinner party : o )