• crenellated •
kre-nê-lay-did • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Having battlements, provided with battlements. 2. Scalloped, having a series or row of notches, as the leaf below.
Notes: Today's Good Word was originally the past participle of the verb crenellate "to provide battlements". It is used far more these days as an adjective. We may freely omit one of the double Ls and spell the word crenelated, despite what your spellchecker says. Do not confuse this word with crenulated "having a ribbed or serrated surface".
In Play: Embattlements aren't the only things that come crenellated; I have a coffee table decorated with a strip of crenellated molding. I have even seen crenellation on clothing: "Maude Lynn Dresser came to the party wearing a dress with a crenellated furbelow."
Word History: This word is based on the verb crenellate, itself an extension of the noun crenelle or simply crenel. English borrowed this word from Old French crenel, the diminutive of cren "notch". This word came from a Vulgar Latin word, crena "notch", still found in Romansh as crenna and in Walloon (a Romance language spoken in Belgium) as cren. Here the trail gets murky. It may have been borrowed from some Celtic language akin to Irish ara-chrin "he decays". Cren is clearly related to English cranny, for an alternate Old French spelling of cren is cran.