As an English major and daughter of a woman who spoke incredibly precise English, it pains me to no end to hear people constantly mispronounce words even when they KNOW they're mispronouncing them. And Webster's is no help, because they've apparently given up and now, if the word is mispronounced long enough and by enough people, then it magically becomes OK to mispronounce it.
Case in point, the word epergne. In the world of antiques and glass, epergnes are pretty high up there in status of ownership and price. I've owned and resold several and think they're absolutely gorgeous. However, whenever anyone refers to them, at least in my neck of the woods (Deep South), they pronounce it "EEE-pern" like some hillbilly would if he even knew what in the heck an epergne WAS. Everytime I hear it, it's like fingernails grating across a blackboard--I've even tried to very gently correct them but this is what I hear in return, "But that's how EVERYone says it! EEEE-pern." Oh, ok--with that line of thinking, if EVERYone says "F**k you" instead of "Hello", well, be prepared the next time I see you, folks. Not that I wouldn't mind using the "F**k you" salutation if I ever ran into, say, Rick Perry . . .
Sorry. Had to say it.
An epergne is defined as a type of table centerpiece, usually made of silver, but may be made of any metal or glass or porcelain. It has a large central bowl or basket sitting on three to five feet (or a base). From this center bowl radiate branches supporting small baskets, dishes, candleholders, or "horns". There may be from one to seven branches or horns. Epergnes were traditionally made from silver, but from the start of the 20th century glass was also employed. It may be used to hold any type of food or dessert and may also be used as a designer object to hold candles, flowers, ornaments for a holiday, etc. They can also be used as a stand-alone decoration, as well. The word "epergne" is probably from the French "epargne" meaning "saving", the idea being that dinner guests were saved the trouble of passing dishes. However, an actual epergne in French is called a "surtout". (Information courtesy of Wikipedia).
Here are some of my past and current epergnes. I especially like the darling one horn epergnes. All of mine have been made by Fenton Glass.
One horn chocolate Diamond Lace epergne. The horn looks just like an ice cream cone! This one's about the height of a soda can.
Beautiful pink opalescent Diamond Lace one horn mini epergne with Snow Crest rim.
Much larger one horn epergne in seafoam green with a stretch horn. The base has a "zipper" rim. This was sold during Fenton's ill-fated time on QVC and has now been retired. I purchased it at the Fenton Gift Shop.
Look! The big blue opalescent hobnail three horn epergne had a baby!
I've gotten some of my epergnes on eBay but they're getting way too expensive for me--as news gets out that Fenton is closing, I'm sure that most of their better glass will start going up in price.
I did sell the chocolate epergne, but I think I'm going to hang on to the others for awhile and just enjoy their beauty.
Hope everyone's having a good week--I know the East Coast is watching Katia out there in the Atlantic, and we Gulf Coast residents even have something a-brewing, too.