The Crimean War (1854–1856) was the first war which, due to the telegraph, was reported 'live' to the public. Perhaps that is why surprisingly many terms come to us from that war, almost enough to fill our topic for this week. We'll begin with a term that that also fits last week's theme of "color words".
At the Battle of Balaclava a British regiment, having too much front for too few men, formed its line only two-deep rather than the usual four-deep. The Times correspondent wrote, "The Russians on their left drew breath for moment, and then in one grand line dashed at the Highlanders. The ground flies beneath their horses' feet; gathering speed at every stride, they dash on towards that thin red streak topped with a line of steel." No one really knows how thin red streak changed to thin red line.
thin red line – an small but valient line of defense standing between victory and defeat. ["thin blue line" is also used, when refering to police.]
– Telegraph, July 22, 2004
And be thankful for the thin red line of firefighters who risk their own lives to help keep the heat from threatening ours.
– LA Weekly, Aug. 12, 1998
President Bill Clinton announced Wednesday the funding of the 100,000th new police officer … "In making America's thin blue line thicker and stronger, our nation will be safer," Clinton said.
– CNN, May 12, 1999
Hopefully we'll get a quote from my favorite poet.
Yesterday we mentioned the famous Battle of Balaclava, named for the village of Balaclava (Balaklava). That village and battle, which will come up repeatedly this week, have become a word.
balaclava – a close-fitting woollen hat covering the head and encircling the neck
[During the Crimean War, knitted balaclavas were sent over to the British troops to help protect them from the bitter cold weather.]
Apparently this word is rare in the U.S. (it would be called a ski mask) but quite familiar in British Commonwealth countries, typically in a criminal context.
– Ealing Times, UK, Jan. 9, 2007
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd & thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
cardigan – a knitted sweater or jacket that opens with buttons, etc. all the way down the front [a "Mr. Rogers" sweater]
[from James Thomas Brudenell (1797-1868), 7th Earl of Cardigan, who set the style, supposedly wearing one while leading the Charge of the Light Brigade]
– Atlanta Journal Constitution, Jan. 23, 2007
Today's rare word became a bit more prominent with the siege of Sevastopol, the decisive confrontation of the Crimean War. As part of that siege, the French first captured a fortified hill they called the "Mamelon" -- which comes from French for 'nipple'. (Think mammalia.)
mamelon – a rounded hillock; a rounded elevation or protuberance
– Xenophon, Anabasis (trans. Dakyns)
Standing … 105 metres above the surrounding plains, Hanging Rock is an extinct volcano of a sort known as a "mamelon" (the French word for nipple).
– The Age (Australia), Jan. 22, 2007
Interesting that the Crimean hillock was named mamelon, but the mountain in Wyoming is called "Grand Teton..."
Seems size does matter.
We do enjoy your occasionally checking in on us, Robert!
Ten times more Crimean War soldiers died from illnesses (typhus; typhoid; cholera; dysentery) than from battle wounds. Florence Nightgale became prominent for the work she and her nursing team performed in the battle theater. She returned to Britain a heroine and, according to the BBC, was arguably the most famous Victorian after Queen Victoria herself. In 1860 she established the Nightingale Training School for nurses at St Thomas' Hospital.
Nightingale – a nurse [but it seems to have a different sense; see quote below]
Nightingale ward – a hospital ward with two long rows of beds and a central station for the nurse in charge
– Lucilla Andrews, No Time For Romance
In the 1960s the rigid discipline and hierarchy of the Nightingale ward — elaborate uniforms, cloistered student residences, fussy matrons, many of whom had forgone marriage to follow their calling — began to look outdated. … One result of the new thinking was the Salmon report of 1966 … to bring "efficiency" into the hospitals. … Many modern nurses work as if in a factory, clocking off the minute their shift is complete. The Salmon ideals became grim reality only quite recently, when the older generation of Nightingale nurses retired or resigned …
– Sickened by the nurses who don't care, The Sunday Times, Nov. 23, 2003
Wordcrafter, I'd love link to that article, if at all possible.
Florence Nightingale was also known as The Lady with the Lamp, and many nursing programs use the lamp as a symbol of nursing in various ways. She was well known for collecting data during the Crimean War, analyzing the results, and using her findings to improve sanitary conditions in hospitals. In this day of evidence-based practice, Florence Nightingale can surely be seen as a leader. Thank you for the wonderful word!
She was a well-respected statistician, who, among other things, was an early user of the pie chart and other graphics in persuading people of the rightness of her causes.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by wordcrafter:
In the 1960s the rigid discipline and hierarchy of the Nightingale ward — elaborate uniforms, cloistered student residences, fussy matrons, many of whom had forgone marriage to follow their calling — began to look outdated. … One result of the new thinking was the Salmon report of 1966 … to bring "efficiency" into the hospitals. … Many modern nurses work as if in a factory, clocking off the minute their shift is complete.[QUOTE]
This is a fairly accurate depiction of the wards I worked in for many years in the UK. But it did not seem outdated at the time. Morale was extremely high, dedicated service to patients was the rule, whatever time of day or night, whether officially on or off duty. Efficiency and responsibility held sway amongst nurses and doctors of all grades.
Since bureaucracy was imposed by successive governments, an ultrastructured regime has taken over with attendant loss of efficiency, less hands-on training, and diminished humanity and many aspects of the service given to patients.
Morale is generally low, with many retiring at the earliest opportunity. I think you would find few current hospital workers who would dissent. I am not sure that it's much different in the US or other European countries. SAD.
Kalleh, here is the link you requested.
More clothing, apparently somewhat in fashion nowadays.
raglan – an overcoat or other garment with the sleeve going right up to the neck, so that there is no shoulder seam
[pictured here and here]
[after Lord Raglan (FitzRoy James Henry Somerset), the top British commander in the Crimean War. Confusion over his order led to the disasterous Charge of the Light Brigade.]
– St. Petersburg Times, Jan. 20, 2007
Look for raglan-sleeved jackets, which don't have shoulder seams. Instead, the top of the jacket flows down onto the arm.
– Sidelines Online (TN), Feb. 1, 2007
Thanks for the link, Wordcrafter.
Because I sometimes over-react, as Wordcrafters know, I won't react to this statement until I read the article in full. While I realize this statement might be taken out of context, I completely disagree with it. Nurses, be it in England, Australia, the U.S., the Philippines, Jordan, or whereever...(I just happen to know more about nurses in those countries) are dedicated, committed, underpaid and underappreciated. Nurses do not clock out at the end of their scheduled shift, believe me. They stay until their work is done, their patients are cared for and their documentation is done. Sometimes that means working from 7am to 11pm because of today's nursing shortage. As Pearce says, and perhaps you can understand why, the morale is way down today. We are working to change that in the U.S. and all over the world.
Sorry to pontificate!
I just read the article. I suppose the author makes some good points, though it was only one experience. Surely the nurse shouldn't have left at 7:00 without checking on her patient. And it's a pity that it was only the agency nurse who listened to her fears. Still, the author's thesis that nursing education should revert back to the 50s and 60s doesn't hold water. Healthcare has become much more complex, and nurses need to be educated at the baccalaureate level so that they can use improved technologies, base their practice on the best evidence, and provide safe and competent care. No matter how caring a nurse of the 50s or 60s might have been, they'd kill their patients today because they weren't educated at a high enough level.
Interestingly, the article cited Beverly Malone, from the Royal College of Nursing. Beverly has just come to the U.S. to become the CEO of a national nursing organization. In fact, I met her on Friday, and she is lovely. We in the U.S. have welcomed her with open arms.
There is much truth in the article - but it is not, as Kalleh suggests, simply because nurses no longer care. The regime in which they are compelled to work makes their jobs far more complex and, in the absence of the old-fashioned hierarchy, it is often difficult to know who's in charge of what.
Furthermore, in the search for greater efficiency, many aspects of the job have now been privatised (cleaning is one example) and naturally hospitals will probably accept the lowest tender. The lowest tenderer will probably pay the lowest wages and use the cheapest materials - and so it goes on.
Sadly, in spite of massive financial investment in the NHS, there are still examples of poor practices allied with profligacy and much needs to be done to address this. But the problem is not with the front line staff. My mother was recently in hospital for several months and the staff were all excellent. From the paramedic that attended after her fall, through the ambulance personnel who took her in, through the admissions staff who dealt with her quickly and efficiently on a Saturday night when casualty was very busy dealing with the usual detritus of over-indulgence, up to the nursing, medical and support staff who looked after her during her stay - all were excellent, despite, rather than because of, the Government-imposed bureaucracy of the system.
I began this Crimean War theme stating we have "almost enough to fill our topic for this week." To complete it we go to an earlier war, to a word we mentioned a few days ago by citing Xenophon's Anabasis.
– Bucks County (PA) Courier Times, Jan. 7, 2004
[from Xenophon's Anabasis, reporting the advance of Cyrus the Younger into Asia]
One dictionary, Merriam Webster, oddly states that anabasis can mean not only an advance, but also the opposite, "a difficult and dangerous military retreat". But as best I can tell this is error: the proper term for such a retreat is katabasis. Why this confusion? Perhaps because Xenophon's work, though titled Anabasis, gives little space to the advance (the anabasis) and devotes the larger part to the retreat (the katabasis).
(To be scrupulously complete, I should add that in medicine anabasis and catabasis (with a c) can also mean, respectively, the onset and decline of a disease.)
Which word reminds me of katabatic, usually used to describe frigid gusty winds flowing downhill from high elevations....from the Greek katabatikos meaning go down. .. Anabatic winds are updrafts, naturally. Can I assume that these words are all related?
During World War II there was an enormous American naval base established at Argentia harbour near my home in eastern Newfoundland. On either side of the harbour mouth there is an absolutely symmetrical mamelon...an amazing, perfectly matched pair which one sails past while entering the harbour by ship. Somewhat naturally, the American sailors named the two hills Mae and West.