Buckler of Swashes or Swasher of Buckles?

0
Zorro

Zorro was a dude who could swash some serious buckles!

My friend Will made me chuckle to myself (CTM) with his response to my previous Three Musketeers post, in which I noted that the three musketeers seem to be four men with swords and no muskets. Will responded:

… maybe it points to that not age-old debate of whether a swashbuckler is a swasher of buckles or a buckler of swashes.

Swashbuckler is a great word, isn’t it? It’s fun to say and evocative despite its unfamiliar parts. But to settle Will’s imaginary debate, swash is an archaic word for making noise by striking, and a buckler is a small shield. According to the website titled Curious Word Origins, the portmanteau word swashbuckler first appeared around 1560 and was an insulting term for someone who is all talk — akin, I guess, to a sword-rattler. It was applied originally to modestly skilled swordsman who made a lot of noise. In time, the application broadened.

In the early heydays of Hollywood, the term took on a more romantic connotation when folks began applying it to heroic characters played by the likes of Erol Flynn and Douglass Fairbanks Jr. Think Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Zorro.

*****

Like this article? Please consider sharing it or subscribing to our weekly email update! Post any comments and questions below. Bloggers love comments.

About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

Leave a Reply

If you like a post, please take a second to click "like," and comment as often as you like.
We promise not to correct your grammar!