Sunday, March 15, 2009

Word of the Week (March 15 - 21) sheila

sheila n also sheelagh, sheiler. H HALPFRT 'Ireland, Sheila and Newfoundland,' in Ireland and Nfld (1977),147-72; W HONE Every-Day Book (1827) ii, 194-5: Sheelah, -'s day; see BRUSH and PATRICK'S BRUSH for sense 2.

1 In folk legend, the wife, sister, housekeeper or acquaintance of St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.

1819 ANSPACH 473 It is hardly in the power of any priest in the world to hinder an Irishman from getting gloriously drunk, if he is so inclined, on the whole of the 17th of March, as well as the next day in honour of Sheelagh, Saint Patrick's wife.

1829 Newfoundlander 26 Mar, pp. 2-3 Members of Benevolent Irish Society had dinner on March 17th. The company continued to retire, successively, until six o'clock on Sheelah's morning, at which hour, we understand, a few of the campaigners might have been seen, as usual, piously and patriotically employed in 'drowning the shamrock.'
1901 Christmas Bells 13 [The crew brought] her safe into the harbour of Placentia, after a thrilling experience, having been driven by the celebrated storm of Sheelah's Day to Indian Harbour, and just getting to anchorage before the veer of the wind to the northwest. C 68-20 Sheila's day is the day after St Patrick's Day, the eighteenth of March. C 73-98 Patty walks the shores around and Sheila follows in a long white gown... Sheila's gown apparently is a blanket of snow.

2 Comb sheila's blush*, ~ brush; also sheila: fierce storm and heavy snowfall about the eighteenth of March; LINER; see also PATRICK'S BATCH, ~ BROOM, ~ BRUSH.

1923 CHAFE 21 About St Patrick's Day [the sealers] start, most of them waiting until after Sheilah's brush or the equinoxial gale has passed.

1924 ENGLAND 124 Perhaps the most memorable of those occasions was on the night of 'Sheila's Brush,' which is to say the 18th of March. Newfoundland has two 'brushes,' Patrick's and Sheila's; that is to say, storms supposed to be connected with the birthday of St Patrick and that of his wife... The word 'brush' is not always used, however; you will hear Newfoundlanders say: 'We have our Sheila dis time o' year.'

1957 Evening Telegram 20 Oct In the days when 600 fishing vessel crews put out their gear around the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and when 400 of them went to the ice, the sailors, fishermen and sealers all looked for. . .'Sheila's brush' about the time the sun crossed the Equator coming towards us.

1966 FARIS 48 These storms are termed 'St Patrick's Storms' until St Patrick's Day in March. The much less violent storms after that are called 'Sheila's Blush.'

1969 Daily News 12 Mar, p. 1 Don't worry, it's only Sheilagh's Brush. Nothing to worry about, that is. It doesn't mean another long extension of winter. C 69-2 When I was growing up and we didn't have a storm on or before Paddy's Day (called around home 'Patrick and Sheila') someone was sure to say 'Ha boy, we got it coming yet.'

1982 Evening Telegram 3 Apr, p. 33 You seem glad to be alive even if you have to wait for Sheila's Brush before we can safely say summer is just around the corner.

Now, we invite you to RELiVE, REMEMBER and REFRESH iT and/or even REDEFiNE iT!

The main thing is to RELiSH iT.

We also post the word of the week on our sister facebook group each week where we post the word to the group's members each week.

The word of the week is brought to you each week by Rattling Books, a "so small we're fine" Canadian audiobook publisher operating from its global headquarters atop a tor on the coast of Newfoundland and first released each Sunday morning on the CBC Radio program the Weekend Arts Magazine with Angela Antle.

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