As reading the examples will quickly show, most refer to women, but four examples refer to flowers or flower heads, and six more refer to plants or gardens, three of which are shown: blowsy British charm, blowsy clump of feather reed grass, blowsy double anemones.
TV coverage of Her Late Majesty's demise and the Accession of the new King has focused attention on funereal language in general. And in particular a word we rarely get to hear or read, catafalque, has intrigued people.... That set me thinking about where other language of funerals comes from. It’s perhaps surprising how many of the words listed and discussed below are loanwords. Of catafalque, bier, hearse, coffin, funeral, grieve, mourn, bury, widow(er), grave and tomb, only bier, mourn, bury, widow(er) and grave are Germanic, i.e. inherited from Old English.
As a friend recently phrased it, before that it had been possible to hold two contradictory ideas in one’s head: that the Queen was very old and that she would live forever... The extent of the affection, regard and respect for her shown by the public since her death amounts to that oxymoron, a secular canonisation. Earl Marshal is an interesting compound noun which is in a sense a microcosm of the Norman Conquest, for it unites the Old English/Anglo-Saxon eorl with the Norman French marshal.