The Romance of Language: Word for the Week 1/13/17

This week’s word sounds like something straight out of an historical romance novel.(LOL) I will have to find a way to use it in one of my upcoming books!

Marriage a la Mode by William Hogarth The Countess's morning Levee (surrounded by chamberers)

Marriage a la Mode by William Hogarth
The Countess’s morning Levee (surrounded by chamberers)


“A man who frequents ladies’ chambers,” or “a gallant.”  It’s from 1200-1250 from the French for chamberlain or chambermaid.

It’s also used in Shakespeare’s Othello:

“Though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings,

I’d whistle her off and let her down the wind,

To prey at fortune. Haply, for I am black;

And have not those soft parts of conversation that chamberers have.”

Othello, Act 3, Scene 3.

According to Martin Elliott in his book on Othello, “Chamberers were gallants who frequented ladies’ chambers…instead of battlefields: boudoir boys, lizards of the lounge. They spend their days on the over-refined softness–and are as much slandered by Othello, with as much unjust generalization, as are the Venetian ladies by Iago.”




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