age-burnished words

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Alex Coseff

Senior Member
Czech
Hello,

I'm afraid I am not quite sure what following bit age-burnished words could stand for.
By burnished I understand something smooth and shiny... Perhaps, in the following context, could it suggest something like lovely-sounding words?? Since they're combined with age could the phrase imply that such words have been used for a long time, since "the year dot" given that we speak about festive occasions such as wedding ceremonies are?
Thanks a lot.

G.M. Malliet: Wicked autumn
"Max dreamt he was solemnizing a wedding. The couple stood before him at the chancel steps; in the way of dreams, it made perfect sense to him that both bride and groom had their faces swathed in heavy black veils. He began to read aloud the lovely and age-burnished words: "Dear beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God...."
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I think you have the right idea. "Age-burnished" tells us that these words are part of a formula that has been used for a long time.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Old-fashioned people in the UK have been brought up on the Bible (1611) and Prayer Book (1549) in Tudor language. These books were generally available in all English churches until the late 20th century, and we are used to the words of the services and psalms in the prayer book (The Book of Common Prayer) and the readings from the Bible with their striking and often unusual turns of phrase.

    Ms Mallet is telling us that this marriage service is using the form of worship found in the Book of Common Prayer, rather than the newfangled form.

    PS. I remember the age-burnished words at that point as being Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God. It's funny the tricks one's memory plays on one.
     
    Last edited:

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Burnish is a sort of polish, these words have been made to gleam over the years, perhaps by repeated use. I imagine it in the same way that the hand of a bronze statue gets brighter than the rest as people repeatedly touch it.
     

    Alex Coseff

    Senior Member
    Czech
    Yes, I' ve been familiar with the adjective burnished in the sense smooth and shiny. However, I've never seen it collocate with words.
    Thank you, Suzi.
     
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