Word Confusion: Oriel versus Oriole

Posted August 10, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 23 September 2017

I ran across a pinterest pin for the cutest oriel feeder. I had been looking for oriole feeders, so one for an oriel was intriguing. I had to wonder how an oriel window could be used on an oriole feeder.

That’s when I realized that, duh, the pinner must have meant oriole. Too bad, really, as I do love that historic architecture.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Oriel Oriole
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Encyclopedia Britannica

An oriel window

“Lincoln Castle Oriel Window” is Rodw’s own work under the CC0 1.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

An elaborate stone oriel window in Lincoln Castle in England.

Stamp featuring an Oriolus oriolus

“Oriolus oriolus Stamp” by Otckahᴎpobaho DILIN.DILIN at ru.wikipedia is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Those orioles sure are pretty birds.

Part of Grammar:
Plural for noun: oriels
Plural for noun: orioles
[Architecture] A bay window in an upper story, supported from below by projecting corbels, or brackets of stone or wood. Usually semi-hexagonal or rectangular in plan

  • A projection from the wall of a building, typically supported from the ground or by corbels

[Also oriel window] A window in an oriel

An Old World bird related to the starlings that feeds on fruit and insects, the male typically having bright yellow and black plumage

  • Family Oriolidae and genus Oriolus: many species, including the golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus)

A New World bird of the American blackbird family, with black and orange or yellow plumage

  • Genus Icterus, family Icteridae, sometimes called the American oriole family. There are many species, including the Baltimore oriole.
Victorian buildings in the Gothic Revival and Tudor styles often have oriel windows.

Eastlake Victorian, Chateauesque, and Queen Anne styles may combine oriel-like windows with turrets, which are characteristic of those styles.

Some baroque and medieval examples include the Oriel Windows of St. Gallen Switzerland and Monmouth Priory in Geoffrey’s Window, Wales.

Jackie Craven at About.com.

The orioles showed up last weekend.

Mom just filled the oriole feeder yesterday.

Female orioles build a hanging nest.

Young was released by the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday after the club failed to find a trade partner.

History of the Word:
Late Middle English from the Old French oriol meaning gallery and of unknown origin.

Oriels first became prevalent early in the 15th century and were a popular way of making the most of sunlight in a northern country such as Great Britain. They were often placed over gateways or entrances to manor houses and public buildings of the late Gothic and Tudor periods. They became popular again during the revivals of these styles in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

First known use: 1768 from the medieval Latin oriolus (oriol in Old French), from the Latin aureolus, a diminutive of aureus meaning golden, from aurum meaning gold.

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Pinterest Photo Credits

For a reverse view, check out the Oriole Fest & Orange Swirl Guard courtesy of Duncraft.com sitting in the Oriel Window Seat is courtesy of IQ Glass, via Pinterest. Baseball Player by Keith Allison is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.