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#65395 - 04/13/02 09:01 AM Cordwainer
Fiberbabe Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 771
Loc: Portland, Oregon
This one was new to me - I ran across it in yesterday's newspaper, in an article discussion a craft council show I'm going to attend this weekend. If you trust the US media to get etymology right (), then here it is, most of the context preserved:

"They are not cobblers, although they don't balk at that description. Cobblers repair shoes and, in times past, would even reuse leather from worn shoes to make a smaller pair of 'new' shoes, [the artist] said. A cordwainer, by contrast, is someone who works with new leather. Now virtually obsolete, the term derived from cordovan, a fine-grained leather originally made in Cordova, Spain."

Maybe the etymology doesn't qualify as particularly unusual, but I found it an interesting word that might be worth some discussion!

#65396 - 04/13/02 10:32 AM Re: Cordwainer
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
interesting.. i remember looking up Cordavan once.. since it is commonly used to define a color of shoe leather, a dark redish brown, and i wondered why..

Webster's NW, says:
Cordavan, 1) of Cordova, Spain, 2) made of cordavan

and goes to define cordovan as "fine grained, colored leather, or shoes made from the same.

Griffin's shoe polish no relation come in the color cordovan as i recall, Kiwi shoe polish, has red, and ox-blood, but not cordovan (at least in US)

(AKA imelda)

my other obsession

#65397 - 04/13/02 10:33 AM Re: Cordwainer
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Dear Fiberbabe: "Cordwainer" interests me in that it indicates the "v" in Cordova used to be pronounced like a "w". I have encountered a similar example in the name of a Boston doctor, Dr. Janeway. A book on genealogy said that name was derived from family of Italian merchants who settled in England very early, and were from Genoa, the name being originally "de Genove"

#65398 - 04/17/02 10:15 AM Re: Cordwainer
Flatlander Offline

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 428
Loc: Cape Cod, MA, US
The excellent sci-fi author Harlan Ellison uses the pseudonym Cordwainer Bird, particularly for TV work, especially when the director/producer/network makes a hash out of his screenplay (as they are wont to do). He's described the task of writing for television as about as thankless as making shoes for birds -- hence the name.

#65399 - 04/17/02 02:45 PM .
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

#65400 - 09/13/02 11:11 AM not very important, just for completeness...
wofahulicodoc Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 6929
Loc: Worcester, MA
I recall reading stories written in the Fifties by Cordwainer Smith (_Scanners_Live_in_Vain_, to name one). Thought nothing of it at the time but perhaps it was another pseudonym.

#65401 - 09/13/02 11:21 AM Re: not very important, just for completeness...
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858

From 1950 to 1966, stories appeared in mainstream science fiction magazines by an
author named "Cordwainer Smith". From the first to the last, these stories were acclaimed
as among the most inventive and striking ever written, and that in a field specializing in the
inventive and the striking. Their author was a very private man who did not want
his real name to be known because he did not want to be pursued by SF fans.
It was only after his death in 1966 that more than a handful of people knew
that "Cordwainer Smith" was in real life Paul M. L. Linebarger.


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