An Interesting Word – Tintinnabulation

I’m currently listening to The Taggerung by Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall series. The novel is read by the author himself, and Jacques has an amazing accent. One of my favorite things is when the story calls for the abbey bells to ring. Jacques always makes his voice sound like a ringing bell. In fact, it’s so good you probably couldn’t tell it from the real tintinnabulation of Matthias and Methuselah, Redwall Abbey’s twin bells. Hold it. Back up there. That’s a big word! What in the world is tintinnabulation? Read on to find out!

Tintinnabulation is “the ringing and sounding of bells.” It comes from the Latin word tintinnabulum meaning bell. The word was supposed to sound like the ringing of bells. Edgar Allan Poe is sometimes cited as the creator of this word in his 1849 poem, The Bells. He seems to have combined several different words, such as tintinnabulary, that were similar to the Latin term. However, the word is also found in Charles Dickens’s serial novel Dombey and Son published from 1846-1848. So, it seems that this word’s origins aren’t as clear as a bell.

Here is the word used in Poe’s poem:

“In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells –
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.”

You can find more about this word here: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-tin1.htm

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

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