Word of the Week (227): SCOINSON (probability 31532), by David Sutton

SCOINSON is a word for the inner part of a door jamb or window frame. It has variants SCONCHEON, SCONTION and SCUNCHEON.

Unless we are in the carpentry business, we probably don't think much about the terminology relating to doors, but in fact there are quite a few door-related words,

To start with there are the obvious compounds like DOORBELL, DOORKNOB, DOORKNOCKER, DOORPOST, DOORSILL, DOORSTEP, DOORSTOP and DOORWAY, and the perhaps slightly less obvious compounds like DOORCASE or DOORFRAME, the frame of a door, DOORPLATE, a plate on a door with a householder's name on it, and DOORYARD, for the bit of the garden near a door. This last has never caught on in Britain, where YARD in this sense remains firmly associated with schools and prisons, but is standard American, as readers of Walt Whitman will know from his fine elegy 'When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd'.

Then we have MUNTIN (or MUNTING) is a vertical framing piece between door panels, and LINTEL (or LINTOL), a horizontal beam supporting the load above a door. A HOODMOLD is a moulding over a door or window (there is no HOODMOULD*).

Scots gives us RYBAT, a dressed stone at the side of a door, window etc, while a HALLAN is a partition or screen between the door and a fireplace in a cottage.

DRECKSILL is a dialect word for doorsill, from dreck meaning dirt.

A FUSUMA is a Japanese sliding door, while a SHOJI is a translucent paper screen forming a sliding door or partition in a Japanese house.

One who keeps a door is a DOORKEEPER or, if you prefer the French, a HUISSIER, or the Russian, a DVORNIK. There is also DOORMAN (or DOORSMAN) and DOORWOMAN (but no DOORSWOMAN*). Let's also give a mention to MENSHEN, a Chinese door god, and MASCARON, a grotesque figure carved on a doorknocker, used to keep away evil spirits and door-to-door salesmen.

Finally, you might nor realise that a house can be DOORED or DOORLESS. Presumably even a doorless house has the gap where a door would be, draughty though this sounds, as the alternative seems to involved ingress through windows or, in the manner of Father Christmas, down the chimney.


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