Friday, 5 June 2015

Bea Xenodochial

Words are wonderful, aren’t they? I do so enjoy a casual browse through the dictionary: it’s a relaxing pastime as well as being educational. It was on one such meander that I came across xenodochial, meaning friendly to strangers.

Sometimes words can be deliberately misused. Erik the Red was an ancient Icelandic warrior who called the arctic land to which he was exiled ‘Greenland’. It was an early instance of false advertising. It is said that his intention in so naming it was to encourage other settlers to come.

Another example is the naming of the long bay in south east Devon ‘Slapton Sands’: the beach is formed entirely of pebbles and is impossible to walk on in bare feet. Nevertheless it is very beautiful.

I am going to Slapton on Monday for two weeks holiday. I do hope the locals will be xenodochial.