BRIDELOPE.

The fearsomely learned Conrad has sent me an excellent OED find, the long-forgotten word bridelope:

[late OE. brýdlóp, either:—*brýdhléap, or ad. ON. brúðhlaup, brullaup (Sw. bröllopp, Da. bryllup) wedding; cf. OHG. brûthlauft, -louft, MHG. brûtlouf, Ger. (arch.) brautlauf; f. OTeut. brûđi- BRIDE + hlaup- run, LEAP.]
The oldest known Teutonic name for ‘Wedding’: lit. ‘the bridal run’, or ‘gallop’, in conducting the bride to her new home. See Grimm, Brautlauf: and cf. BROOSE ["A race on horseback, or on foot, by the young men present at country weddings in the north"]. ? Only in OE.

Unfortunately, Robin, the bride at the wedding I just got back from, was in too much back pain to do any running or galloping, but she was a real trouper, and I suspect the joy of the occasion more than made up for the discomfort. And Jim, known around these parts as jamessal, had a goofy smile on his face the entire time I was there and was clearly thrilled to be marrying her, as well he might be. The two of them are now off on their honeymoon, and I’m sure they carry the best wishes of the entire LH crowd with them.
I felt a little trepidation setting out on a journey that required essentially sitting on buses for two complete days and spending the intervening days as an outsider in a vortex of family wedding preparation (I was staying with Jim’s parents, Nathan and Lydia), but everyone was so genuinely welcoming I never felt a moment’s awkwardness and was able to fully enjoy the food, drink, and good company. The food was amazing, especially the rehearsal dinner at Elements (an extensive tasting menu that left some diners defeated and asking for doggie bags, but of which I ate every bite); the drink was provided by Mattias Hagglund, the bartender at Elements and a friend of Jim’s, who created concoctions for the wedding reception called Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue (I had the last-named, a mixture of Blue Goose vodka, curacao, and peach liqueur served in a martini glass, and it was so delicious it was only with the sternest self-discipline, and the memory of the effects of the previous night’s alcoholic consumption, that I denied myself a second glass); and the company was so exhilarating I wish I could have spent much more time in it: Jim’s uncle Ken Robbins (who was also staying in the house, and who turned out to be one of the few people I can enjoy talking with when hung over), Jim Haba and his wife Erica (an artist who works in tiles so vivid they made me wish for much more color in the built world around us), Kathryn Levy (whose excitement at finding a fellow Lorine Niedecker fan was such that she dropped her glass)… I know I’m forgetting other names, but the point is, it was a wonderful crowd well worth staying up till 2 AM for. Don’t worry, I’m not about to turn LH into a social calendar, but it’s not often I get to do things like this, and I wanted to record it. Oh, and there’s even a language book involved: Ken gave me a copy of Wordly Wise, by James McDonald (a mathematician who loves word history), which I look forward to immersing myself in.
Totally not LH-related, but wedding-related and a lot of fun: Vanessa’s Wedding Surprise. Warning: schmaltz!

Comments

  1. Jan Freeman says:

    So “bridelope” must be related to “elope” and to “gantlet,” formerly “gantlope”:
    OED: GANTLOPE:

    [corruptly a. Sw. gatlopp, MSw. gatu-lop (f. gata lane, GATE n.2 + lopp course).
      ON. had gǫtuþiófr, explained as a thief punished by running the ‘gantlope’. The Sw. word prob. became known in England through the Thirty Years' War; the equivalent gassenlaufen is found in Ger.]

    When I learned gantlope’s background some years ago, I argued that the word “gantlet” was already so far from its origin that it made no sense to insist on distinguishing it from “gauntlet.” But I don’t think I persuaded many of my fellow editors.

  2. I was hoping “bridelope” would be a construction like jackalope: a bride with antlers, perhaps? Which could give rise to all sorts of terrific pseudo-folklore. For example, in order to catch the bridelope, the groom puts out a flask of whiskey at night, because bridelopes are easier to catch when they are drunk.

  3. Kári Tulinius says:

    Brullaup is sometimes used in modern Icelandic, though brúðkaup or gifting are more common.

  4. … I’m sure they carry the best wishes of the entire LH crowd with them.
    Yes, of course they do!

  5. Bryllup is the (current) Norwegian word for wedding. And å løpe is to run.

  6. I’m guessing this is the same word as modern Dutch bruiloft, then. Just to add another one to the pile.

  7. Interesting. Was just looking for a unique word to make a succinct impact on the old English concept of a man running away with the bride. And voila!

  8. So what about an Auntelope?

  9. Does the winning runner get a slice of meatlope, and a swig of bride-ale ?

  10. A nephew sent a message “antelope” / To which she sadly replied “cantaloupe”.

  11. Actually “meatlope” is off-course, since “loaf” is from Leib [loaf] which, they say, has nothing to do with Brautlauf [bridelope].

  12. David Marjanović says:

    the equivalent gassenlaufen is found in Ger.

    So, is it.
    It probably once was. Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

  13. Bill Walderman says:

    brúðkaup – Does this mean “bride purchase”?
    Thanks for the information about bridelope. This explains the origin of the Danish & Norwegian word “bryllup”, which was puzzling me.
    Danish for “run” is “at løbe” but even if it were spelled “løpe,” as in Norwegian, it would be pronounced the same, as in Danish there’s no voicing distinction in obstruents other than in word-initial position.

  14. For “replied” read “answered”, of course. Brain fart.

  15. John Emerson says:

    Penelope the antelope ate a cantelope.

  16. I understand Canteloube set that one to music.
    And we mustn’t forget Larson’s Spamalope of the Serengeti.

  17. michael farris says:

    “I was hoping “bridelope” would be a construction like jackalope”
    I feel slightly less shallow knowing I’m not the only one.

  18. the equivalent gassenlaufen is found in Ger.
    It is still used in modern German, according to Google, if people happen to be discussing, say, the early 19th century (e.g. books about the Napoleonic era). Spießrutenlaufen is the usual term.

  19. It is worth distinguishing “gantlet” from “gauntlet” in spelling iff it reflects a difference in pronunciation. I am sure such a distinction must be made by some from preciousness and/or as a spelling pronunciation, but otherwise?

  20. “Actually “meatlope” is off-course, since “loaf” is from Leib [loaf] which, they say, has nothing to do with Brautlauf [bridelope].”
    The word you are looking for is “brideloaf”, a bitchy term that wedding dress designers use behind their customers’ backs.
    This bridelope business – is that because it’s so much fun watching someone try to run in those sack-race gowns?

  21. “loaf” is from Leib [loaf] and thus related to lady

  22. Victor Sonkin says:

    Welll… yes, it’s a nice video, but the groom’s an actor. He played Hugh Laurie’s sidekick in the first movie-length episode of season 6, and appeared in another episode later into the season. Not sure if this information adds anything. By the way, was the groom’s father supposed to be Russian? Or Polish? The fake ‘na zdorovye’ made me even more suspicious.

  23. He played Hugh Laurie’s sidekick in the first movie-length episode of season 6
    Hugh Laurie is in Vanessa’s Wedding Surprise, Season 6? What is he, the vicar?

  24. it’s a nice video, but the groom’s an actor
    Many of the participants are professionals, which is what makes the performance so enjoyable. Trust me, if my family had decided to do Fiddler on the Roof at my wedding, you wouldn’t have wanted to see the video.

  25. Bill Walderman @ 11:43 asked:
    brúðkaup – Does this mean “bride purchase”?
    Yep. Brudekøb in modern Danish – although that institution is long obsolete, and brudekøb is never used as synonymous with bryllup in Danish.

  26. Kári Tulinius says:

    Brúðkaup, I believe, means “bride exchange,” rather than “bride purchase.” Kaup in that sense, however, is mostly extinct from modern Icelandic, mostly surviving in constructions like brúðkaup, kaupmáli (contract) and kaupskip (merchant ship).

  27. “bride exchange,”
    There are no guarantees. Is this the same as “wife swapping”? Å kjøpe is to buy in Norwegian.

  28. “loaf” is from Leib [loaf] and thus related to lady
    That’s pretty surprising. The OED also says “the etymology … is not very plausible with regard to sense”. In this vale of etymological tears we call life, no loafing permitted ! Or, as Crown just put it, there are no guarantees when ladies bridle.

  29. I’d love to tell you the cognate word from the couthy Scots of my childhood playground, but I can’t. Mind you, we didn’t much discuss weddings, except for the scrambles.

  30. “Scrambles” ? Does that mean a rush to the buffet tables, or something like that ?

  31. OED: “A dish composed of hastily-mixed ingredients; an informal meal of such dishes.”

    1893 YONGE & COLERIDGE Strolling Players xxii. 187 Selva’s Irish hospitality could allow no one to depart in the rain, and her Irish happy-go-luckiness saw nothing to be ashamed of in a scramble. 1898 J. D. BRAYSHAW Slum Silhouettes 42 Some of the ladies of the district, deeming the short cut to a poor man’s soul was through his vitals, invited them to a free ‘muffin scramble’. 1938 E. WAUGH Scoop I. i. 18 The recipe for a dish named ‘Waffle Scramble’. 1958 Woman’s Own 17 Sept. 15/1 Halve the rolls… Fill with the tuna scramble.

    I too was unfamiliar with it. (Also, I highly recommend Waugh’s Scoop to anyone who hasn’t read it.)

  32. The scramble at a Scottish wedding is something very different: the departing newleyweds throw a handful (or more) of coins for the local children to fight over. I don’t know if the tradition has survived the (relative) gentrification of Glasgow, or even how widespread the practice was to begin with.

  33. “loaf” is from Leib [loaf] and thus related to lady
    That’s pretty surprising. The OED also says “the etymology … is not very plausible with regard to sense”.”
    That’s surprising. I thought “hlaf-dige” and “hlaf-weard” formed a pair = lady and lord. Well, now that you mention it, that is a not a very plausible semantic development. I don’t see how you get any meaning for “lady’ out of “loaf-kneader”.

  34. marie-lucie says:

    I seem to remember that “hlaf-dige” is supposed to mean “loaf-distributer” rather than “loaf-kneader”.

  35. Maybe the association between lady and loaf derives from rich folks, who by definition have a lot of bread. As Marie-Thérèse (wife of Louis 14) supposedly said once in an unpeasant frame of mind: qu’ils mangent de la brioche. I found this translated “literally” here as “Let them eat rich, expensive, funny-shaped, yellow, eggy buns”. Isn’t it neat how the French can get so much meaning into a single word !

  36. David Marjanović says:

    Thérèse

    [k͡|k͡|k͡|k͡|k͡|]
    Antoinette.

  37. According to the link I gave (“here“), the Pöbel still believes that Marie-Antoinette said it, whereas “historians have known better all along”. You don’t want to be Pöbel, now do you ?!

  38. All wrong about “lady” then, eh? One more tired old false factoid to stop repeating.
    What I’ve heard about “let them eat cake” was that the actual callous remark meant “let them eat the bits that remain stuck in the pan after you take the [some baked good or other] out”. That’s wrong, too, huh?

  39. Yeah, I heard that too. I’ve never been able to sort out the “let ‘em eat brioche” thing.

  40. marie-lucie says:

    The wife of Louis XIV was “Marie-Thérèse” (Maria Teresa of Spain). “Marie-Antoinette” (Maria Antonia of Austria) was the wife of Louis XVi. Neither of them said “qu’ils mangent de la brioche”.

  41. She could well have said “Let them eat challah“, it’s not that different as a food. In fact I’m surprised the French had brioches in the 17th century; I would have expected that they were brought in by Marie Antoinette, in other words that the French got the challah (aka khale or birches) recipe from Austria, as they did for croissants, and just made them bun-shaped, as challah would look if you were to tear off one of the plaited pieces of the loaf.

  42. Neither of them said “qu’ils mangent de la brioche”.
    So I was passing on an urban legend about an urban legend ? The theory is applicable to itself – as every theory with universal applicability should be. Just like Sister Ray said – and Luhmann.
    Of course Sister Ray was not equally prolific. She is remembered primarily for “don’t you know you’ll stain the carpet ?”, presumably meaning that brioches should be eaten from a plate.

  43. Grumbly Stu: Does the winning runner get a slice of meatlope, and a swig of bride-ale ? It’s not the runner who gets the ale, but the bride, according to the Reverend William Carr, in his Dialect of Craven, in the westriding of the County of York, published 1828. In his definition of bride-ale, he says that “Immediately after the performance of the marriage ceremony a ribbon is proposed as the prize of contention, either for a foot or a horse race, to the future residence of the bride … hoever had the good fortune to arrive first at the bride’s house requested to be shewn to the chamber of the new-married pair. After he had turned down the bed clothes, he returns, carrying in his hand a tankard of warm ale previously prepared, to meet the bride, to whom he triumphantly offers his humble beverage. He may go some distance before he meets her, as nothing is deemed more unlucky than for the bride and bridegroom to gallop. The bride then presents to him the ribbon, as the honourable reward of his victory. Thus adorned he accompanies the bridal party to their residence.”

  44. marie-lucie says:

    The French Wikipedia article on brioche gives some info on various types of brioche, and dates the word from the 16th century. (Note: I find the article very poorly written).
    The painting by Chardin (18th C) shows a strange-looking brioche, resembling a type of hat with a flat top. The traditional brioche has a higher bottom part and is topped by a sort of spherical bun, smaller than the part that is shown in the picture.
    The apocryphal sentence “qu’ils mangent de la brioche” and its attribution to various princesses is discussed at length in the English article on “let them eat cake”, which shows that Marie-Antoinette cannot possibly have been the originator.

  45. My wife makes brioches. It’s quite easy, you just propose marriage and wait about fifteen years.

  46. My wife made what could have been called a cobbler last night. She used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks for shortening.

  47. David Marjanović says:

    The wife of Louis XIV

    Oops. I must have misread “14″ as “16″, or something.

    I would have expected that they were brought in by Marie Antoinette, in other words that the French got the challah (aka khale or birches) recipe from Austria

    I don’t know any of these terms.

    Marie-Antoinette cannot possibly have been the originator

    It was part of the media campaign that brought about the French Revolution. The entire royal family seems to have thought that all the rumors were completely inconsequential; they don’t seem to have understood that there (now) was such a thing as a public opinion. In hindsight it’s all pretty baffling.

  48. It was part of the media campaign that brought about the French Revolution. The entire royal family seems to have thought that all the rumors were completely inconsequential; they don’t seem to have understood that there (now) was such a thing as a public opinion. In hindsight it’s all pretty baffling.
    David, you are projecting the modern notion of “media campaign” into the 18th century, yet claim to be baffled that “public opinion” was not a familiar phenomenon. You can’t have it both ways: a media campaign can be mounted only when there is “public opinion” seen as such. Do you believe that pre-revolutionary France was essentially the same as pre-election Austria, only without political ads on TV ?

  49. Trond Engen says:

    I think David’s point was that some acknowledged the power of “public opinion”, but the royal family were not among them.

  50. Yes, that was precisely the time when “public opinion” was coming into being. The royals are always the last to know.

  51. Trond Engen says:

    Hm, I don’t believe that public opinion came into being. It’s described in the Bible and brokered for money in ancient Rome. But there’s a case to be made that printed mass media had a new power to rally it.

  52. Trond Engen says:

    By there’s a case to be made I mean that I think so, but I’d hope to get away without having to produce a sustainable argument for it.

  53. marie-lucie says:

    (Marie-Antoinette)
    The point was that “qu’ils mangent de la brioche” was a phrase commonly attributed to an unnamed and probably fictitious princess, and later to actual ones, years before Marie-Antoinette was brought to France as a young girl barely into her teens.
    (challah) Challah is not brioche. I have eaten both.

  54. “qu’ils mangent de la brioche” was a phrase commonly attributed to an unnamed and probably fictitious princess
    To put it more concretely, marie-lucie, the very English WiPe article on “let them eat cake” to which you referred us says that the first occurrence of the words, as attributed to a princess, is found in the Confessions of Rousseau:

    Finally I recalled the last resort of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: “Let them eat brioche.”

    The article presents various explanations and suppositions brought forth for this bit of Rousseau, who was a story-teller in all senses (and with a nice line in political philosophy). Earlier this year I read Feuchtwanger’s late novel about him, Narrenweisheit oder Tod und Verklärung des Jean-Jacques Rousseau [Fool's Wisdom, or Death and Transfiguration of Jean-Jacques Rousseau]. Feuchtwanger presents Rousseau in an ambiguous light well-suited to the subject.
    By the way, marie-lucie, I initially wondered whether “last resort” gets the sense of pis-aller, which I don’t quite understand in this context:

    Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.

    I think the English is clever because it can be taken to mean “last resort as to what to say” and “last resort as to what to do”. Is that also how pis-aller is working here ?

  55. marie-lucie says:

    Grumbly, the phrase is indeed first found in Rousseau, but the context does not suggest that he invented it. “First attested in writing” does not mean that it did not circulate orally. The article says that before Marie-Antoinette it was attributed to other female members of the royal family, over two earlier generations, but there is no definite attribution (an actual utterance by a specific princess might have been recorded in someone’s memoirs), so this might have been the equivalent of an urban myth.
    pis-aller means literally “worse-go” or “worse-do”. It does not have the connotation of “last” or “finally” as in English but of having to choose a less adequate alternative or substitute when the best one is not possible. In this case, the “worse” alternative suggested by the possibly apocryphal princess would actually be a better one, IF it was available. Rousseau’s use is ironic, but otherwise there is no ambiguity in the use of the word.

  56. David Marjanović says:

    But there’s a case to be made that printed mass media had a new power to rally it.

    That’s what I mean.

  57. Challah is not brioche
    No, I’ve eaten both too. Nor is a croissant exactly what the Ottoman Empire left at the gates of Vienna, most probably. I’m no expert in the history and evolution of food, but I’d have thought that once a baking idea has been invented (egg bread, for instance), then the recipe’s going to be adjusted a little bit by everyone who tries it and pretty soon you’ve got more than one product.

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