Sunday, October 21, 2012

Time to take the mantle off the mantel

Here's a little used word, or at least, one I don't use often: mantle.  Or mantel for that matter.

One is a shelf over a fireplace. 

I have a gas stove, so no mantel for me. 

The other mantle actually has several definitions: 

It can be a loose, sleeveless cape
It can be something that covers, envelopes, or conceals - the mantle of darkness
It can be the section of earth between the crust and the core
It has several scientific uses - in zoology, metallurgy,  ornithology
And, if you are so inclined, you could also think of Mickey Mantle.

But one thing I remember - or maybe haunts me - is from my high school Latin class.  I translating something and having the hardest time figuring out what a mantle didn't make sense in the story I was working on.

But a specialized use of mantle I remember from family campouts.  I remember being admonished to be careful with the mantle for the Coleman lantern.

Maybe I should go camping more often!

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