But this coming Sunday, the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent, has an even cooler-sounding name, which happens to be my favourite word (well, actually, it's in a tie with "mellifluous").
Don't you just love the sound of it? kwinkwa JESSA muh.
Its etymology follows the same pattern as Septuagesima's (and the intervening... you guessed it... Sexagesima): post-classical Latin quinquagesima fiftieth day (counting inclusively) before Easter, short for Quinquagesima dies (fiftieth day), the feminine of classical Latin quīnquāgēsimus (fiftieth).
Another related word I love the sound of is "quinquereme" (from rēmus oar). The OED has this to say about quinqueremes:
An ancient Greek or Roman galley rowed by oarsmen arranged in groups of five, perhaps with three banks of oars, one above the other, the top two each pulled by a pair of men, the bottom by one. There is continuing debate as to the precise significance of the numerical prefix. Some authorities believe that it refers to a ship having five banks of oars, but in view of the instability of such a design this is unlikely.
I cannot think of quinqueremes (admittedly not something I do often!) without remembering this evocative poem I learned and loved as a child. How many of you also know this poem from your schooldays?
Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.
Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.
Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.