What does caparisoned mean?

Word count: 243 words

Reading time: About 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: caparisoned.

I was enjoying a coffee with a friend recently and she mentioned the book The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. Despite having been a lifelong fan of Anne of Green Gables, I’d never heard of this other work. “I’ll lend it to you,” promised my friend, and she did. (It’s worth noting that she re-read it herself before lending it to me. That’s one sure sign of a great book — it makes you want to read it more than once!)

Although The Blue Castle is a somewhat predictable romance novel that shows its age (it was written in 1926) it’s also deeply insightful and utterly charming. I don’t normally read books like this one — but, to be honest, few are this good. I felt as though I knew each of the main characters. As well, the book gave me my word of the week:

On the steep mountain trails around her Blue Castle only gaily caparisoned steeds might proudly pace. 

The word caparison (a noun) dates back to the 1570s and Middle French. The modern French equivalent is caparaçon, meaning  “cloth spread over a saddle.” It refers to the vestments worn by horses on celebratory occasions such as the merry-go-round hourse pictured above.

Photo courtesy west.m, Flickr Creative Commons

Scroll to Top