But what does this most Christmassy of words mean? From the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, which I love, inasmuch as a soul can love a dictionary:
Noel nəʊˈɛl noun. Also Noël. lME.
- 1 Christmas. lME.Spectator A banner…wished us a felicitous Noel.
- 2 (n-.) A Christmas carol. l18.ORIGIN: French noël: see Nowel noun1.
Nowel nəʊˈɛl noun1. arch. Also -ll. lME.
- 1 A word shouted or sung as an expression of joy, orig. to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Now only as retained in Christmas carols. lME.
- 2† The feast of Christmas; Christmas time. lME–l16.ORIGIN: Old French nouel, noel (mod. noël) obscure var. of nael, neel, from Latin natalis (sc. dies day) natal adjective1. Cf. Noel .
Fascinating dictionary abbreviations explained here.
Reason for the title here, and because I only realised recently there was a cast reunion for The Princess Bride (it has everything I could wish for in a movie, including lines like “True love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice MLT — mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe.”) (If you haven’t watched it, may I please screen it for you?)