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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cleaning vegetable detritus from sheep fleeces

I love obscure words with very specific meanings. From this week's World Wide Words, I learned:
Weird Words: Sabrage
The act of opening a bottle with a sabre.

Imagine opening a bottle with great ceremony by striking off its
neck with one sweep of a blade. Traditionally the bottle contains
champagne and the implement is always a sabre.

You might think the result will be lots of broken glass and mess,
but the skill of sabrage lies in hitting the bottle hard just at
the bottom edge of the annulus, the glass ring at the top of the
neck. The blow breaks the neck off cleanly, complete with cork.
Experts advise you chill the bottle very well and avoid shaking it,
remove the foil and wire cage, hold it away from you at an angle of
about 40 degrees and strike with the bottle seam uppermost. Do not
try this at home, kiddies. In truth, a sabre is optional: almost
any hard object with an edge will do it.

At least one organisation, the Confrérie du Sabre d'Or, maintains
this tradition at its champagne parties. But otherwise, both it and
the term are rarely encountered. Stories hold that it dates from
Napoleonic times and was invented by cavalry who found it difficult
to open champagne bottles while on horseback, but did have usefully
heavy sabres handy. You may celebrate the ingenuity of this story
with a small glass of something bubbly if you wish.

Its language origin is definitely the French "sabrer", to hit with
a sabre. It's a close relative of "sabreur", one who fights with a
sabre, best known in "beau sabreur", a fine soldier or dashing
adventurer. But the modern French "sabrage" mundanely refers to
cleaning vegetable detritus from sheep fleeces.

Who knew?!

PS To the bastard who found hippie blog by googling where to buy a trafficed woman cost yesterday, fuck off. I hope your penis falls off.

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thermalsatsuma said...

Coo! As a sabreur I'll have to try that ... :-)