Word of the week: warison



noun: a bugle call to attack

The battalion charged forward the instant they heard the warison.

Did you know?

When Sir Walter Scott first encountered 'warison' around the beginning of the 19th century, it was a rare word that had been around for 600 years, occasionally used to mean either 'wealth' or 'possessions' or 'reward'. In his 1805 poem The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Scott used the word to refer to a bugle call ordering soldiers to attack, probably because he misinterpreted what the word meant when he read it in 'The Battle of Otterbourne', a ballad found in Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. The original word (which Scott encountered as Middle English waryson) derives from the Anglo-French garisun, which means 'healing' or 'protection' and is also the source of the English word 'garrison', meaning 'a military post'.

This is taken from 365 New Words-A-Year 2015 Page-A-Day Calendar