A ROSE IS A ROSE.

Except when it’s a piece of metal. We had a minor household crisis recently that involved breaking into our own house in broad daylight through a window and the replacement of a doorknob, and in the course of the latter process we found that the instruction sheet referred to “the rose.” Rose? Why yes, as the OED says (s.v. rose 14.):
f. Building. A circular, sometimes ornamental mounting through which the shaft of a door-handle may pass.
The next definition, equally surprising to me, was:
g. A circular mounting on a ceiling through which the wiring of an electric light passes; = ceiling rose s.v.
So now I know what to call two common household items of whose names I was heretofore, all unknowing, unaware.

Comments

  1. Noetica says:

    Sub rosa, I more or less knew the ceiling rose, but not the doorknob one. But what is the origin of sub rosa, I wonder? OED has, at “Rose, n.1 and a.1″:

    So early mod.Du. onder de roose (Kilian), MLG. under der rosen, G. unter der rose: there is reason to believe that the phrase originated in Germany.

    Warum? Und der Urquell, bitte?

  2. Siganus Sutor says:

    Ah, all these specific words in the construction industry, what a pain… After gabion, here comes the rose, which may or may not be pink. (In gothic churches it had many colours.)
    If Nauetica, mignonne, thought of the ceiling rose, I for one thought of the more maritime rose des vents, something that is simply called “wind rose” in English as I am discovering right now.

  3. Siganus Sutor says:

    Wikipedia always seems to have a surprise for the ignoramus: “The name “rose window” was not used before the 17th century and in all likelihood stems from the Old French word roué, meaning wheel, not from the English flower name, rose.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_window
    That sounds very surprising indeed, since the architectural rose or rosace, in French, come indeed from the flower, more specifically from the shape of the flower.
    And, by the by, it should rather be roue or rouet – like Gandhiji’s, i.e. the one that has been put on the Indian flag – than roué, which is an adjective that only means “sly”. I’ve heard that some former flower-power disciples have been wikipedying these days. Maybe they could fix that wheel?

  4. “in all likelihood stems from the Old French word roué, meaning wheel, not from the English flower name, rose”
    OED happily gives it from ROSE.

  5. ” Sub rosa comes from the Latin, literally ‘under the rose,’ from the ancient association of the rose with confidentiality, the origin of which traces to a famous story in which Cupid gave Harpocrates, the god of silence, a rose to bribe him not to betray the confidence of Venus. Hence the ceilings of Roman banquet-rooms were decorated with roses to remind guests that what was spoken sub vino (under the influence of wine) was also sub rosa.”

  6. A. Crown, A.I.A. says:

    That’s very interesting about sub rosa.
    There is also a shower rose, like the door-knob one but for shower heads.
    Wouldn’t unter der Rosen be a similar phrase to unter den Linden?

  7. michael farris says:

    “A circular, sometimes ornamental mounting through which the shaft of a door-handle may pass.”
    Please, please, please. Tell me that this is called “stemming the rose”.
    reference for the uninitiated:
    http://www.languagehat.com/archives/002214.php

  8. Wikipedia always seems to have a surprise for the ignoramus: “The name “rose window” was not used before the 17th century and in all likelihood stems from the Old French word roué, meaning wheel, not from the English flower name, rose.”
    You mean “Wikipedia occasionally gets edited by ignoramuses.” I deleted the idiotic “roué” theory.

  9. “I deleted the idiotic “roué” theory.”
    You misogoropist, you.

  10. David Marjanović says:

    unter der Rosen

    Unter der Rose (singular), unter den Rosen (plural). Except probably for Goethe and earlier.
    I’ve never come across such a phrase, however.
    And Urquell is a poetic word that is only used in connection with beer nowadays. :-)

  11. I know what Brewer says about sub rosa, but I do not think that there is any evidence that the ancients associated roses with silence. The famous

    Est Rosa flos Veneris, cuius quo furta laterent,
    Harpocrati matris dona dicavit Amor.
    Inde rosam mensis hospes suspendit amici,
    Convivæ ut sub ea dicta tacenda sciant.

    is from 16th Century Germany.
    Nor of Venus / Cupid / Harpocrates with roses. As for the last as god of silence, that is indeed a misunderstanding of the Egyptian Horus-child. But probably not, as Wikipedia says, the hieroglyph for ‘child’ (Gardiner A17), which rather shares a common iconic source (child sucking its finger) as the statues they saw.
    So, as Noetica indicates from the OED, unter der Rosen is the source (though evidently no longer used). Seems to be more here, though perhaps not up-to-date.

  12. Siganus Sutor says:

    Doc Rock: what was spoken sub vino (under the influence of wine) was also sub rosa.
    Yes, but your quote forgets to mention that this applied only to rose wine, not to rosé wine – or to vindaloo.

  13. You missed a chance at a softball Eco joke with this post title. For shame.

  14. Also, the OED is strangely silent on “surfer rosa”.

  15. So does German—the French diminutive, that is. Oddly, French uses rosace; in fact, the Romance languages use quite a variety of derivatives: Catalan rosassa, Spanish rosetón, Italian rosone, Portuguese rosácea.

  16. Thank you, David: I was aware that Urquell is archaic and poetic. So am I, and I relish every opportunity to use Ur-. And yes, I did know about the Pilsner connexion (aleatoric though it be). Nor should the segue to Brewer go unremarked, in the exchanges above.

  17. Siganus Sutor says:

    LH: Oddly, French uses rosace
    It uses rose as well (refer to Victor Hugo for instance), but nowadays rosace is more commonly encountered.
    For us down under rosette is the type of knot that you use to tie your shoelace, the one that you easily untie by pulling just one string – if everything goes well. For the French I presume it would rather be either a saucisson or the red piece of ribbon that is tied to the chest of the elect that are rewarded by the Republic.

  18. Perhaps tangentially related, there are also the compass rose and wind rose.
    Incidentally, what’s called the bullseye in English is called de roos in Dutch.

  19. When I was a kid, it was forbidden to go out to the balcony, because under the roof and over the balcony of our stalinistic era house in Kiev two heavy “stone roses” hung on rusty wires, and could fall down at any time, as their twins elsewhere had proven several times. As the decorations bore little resemblance to any of the actual roses I have seen, I guess that’s where the “ceiling rose” originates.
    In general, Russian has named a lot of objects “roses” – розы, розочки, розетки etc. (the latter probably taken from the French; it means “socket” and “small saucer”, and probably more). But I have never heard of any part of the doorknob or lock named something like “rose”.
    The ominous roses still hang over that balcony, as I could see on my last visit in Kiev (actually, Kyiv nowadays).

  20. A. Crown says:

    the bullseye in English is called de roos in Dutch
    ‘Roos in Australia are those big bouncing animals who keep their children in pouches.

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