Monday, September 8, 2008

Willow's Weekly Word

Did you notice that Sarah Palin used the word haberdasher to
describe Harry Truman in her speech last week? No, it wasn't a
disparaging remark. It simply means that he was a former dealer
in men's clothing and accessories. A possible spurious origin of the
word comes from the German phrase Ich habe das, meaning
I have that. This alluded to a haberdashery having whatever a
gentleman needed to wear. Saint Louis IX, the King of France
1226-1270, is the patron saint of haberdashers. So, there you
have it.

Notable sometime haberdashers:

Robert Ask - a philanthropist
Captain James Cook - 18th century British explorer
John Graun - one of the first demographers
Joseph Merrick - the Elephant Man, worked as a haberdasher
before being a freak show act
Paavo Nurmi - legendary Finnish distance runner
Harry S. Truman - the American President (1945-53)
Johnny Carson - of The Tonight Show
Wayne Knight - actor, most famous role: Newman,
Christopher Lloyd - actor, Dr. Emmett Brown, Back to the Future
George Newnes - founder of the Tit-Bits newspaper (1881)
and the popular The Strand Magazine, of Sherlock Holmes fame

~~~photo: Ralph Fiennes in The Avengers~~~


  1. I had heard this word used to describe Harry Truman when I lived in Kansas City and worked downtown near his old haberdashery store.

  2. I didn't know that! But I did know what 'Ich habe das' meant from high school German classes!

  3. Willow you make the ordinary... extraordinary. I love this post and the list is the icing on the cake!

  4. Johnny Carson, of course! The way he pulled his cuffs, that should have been a hint. ;-)

    In German, the TV series "The Avengers" was called "Mit Schirm, Charme und Melone", i.e. "With Umbrella, Charme, and Bowler Hat" ("Charme" meaning seductive charm).

  5. Yes, we could have guessed Johnny Carson, couldn't we?! He always looked SO put together and dashing. Now, Wayne Kight...he's another story...I never would have guessed.

  6. this is just a fun word to say even if I didn't know what it meant - oh, and I've tagged you over on my blog - only if you wish!

  7. Ah, haberdasher is a great word! I love that Saint Louis is the patron saint of haberdashers. Now THAT is something I didn't know! ;)

  8. Brilliant! Lovely picture and informative post!

  9. Yeahhh! That is so groovy! I'm going to start using that word mor often... ummm .. wel.. I don't think that I have ever said it!

  10. Ah .. I wonder what word the amazing Mrs Palin will use next week ... I hope W's speech writers can give her a new word each week ... meeeeeeeoooooow .. ahem, I will try and be less elitist ...


  11. Hello !

    In France, we don't no this ! ????

  12. Love that word, Willow! It always reminds me of title song from the Brit com, Are you being served? Great post and I love the picture of Ralph Fiennes, too...How dapper!

  13. Thank you for clearing that up.Willow go to my blog and read.Hugs Marie antionette

  14. Very interesting! Love the photo of Ralph Fiennes! :D

  15. Ooooo la la... there is something so fine about a nicely groomed and tailored man!

  16. I TOTALLY agree!! And "ooo la la" is a perfect description. :D

  17. thank you for the chuckles :^) the idea of johnny carson selling hats....

  18. Haberdasher, now there's a word you don;t hear every day.

  19. Love these tid-bitty posts!

    Also included on your list could be William Powell, known as the best-dressed man in Hollywood, and before him, Adolph Menjou.

  20. Once again--interesting, Willow! Makes sense, too.

  21. Love the "Bat Masterson" hat!!! I need one of those.

  22. I have a haberdasher's near where I live here in London and they still call it that way! Most shops here in GB just use 'men's clothes' in their signs. I love this section.

    Greetings from London.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)