Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Newfoundland word of the day: Suent - possessing a smooth, pleasing curve

Jerome Canning at work, by Tobias Romaniuk

"Suent" is one of my favourite Newfoundland words, and one that I first heard used by master boatbuilder Jerome Canning. In an article in Downhome Magazine by Tobias Romaniuk, he is quoted as follows:

“And all the time you’re looking at it, because you’ve got to trust your eye [that] she was looking good,” Jerome says. “You draw it on paper; you make a model. The boat had to look good, that nothing sort of looked clumsy, that it had a nice, suent look.”

Folklorist David Taylor includes this definition in his MA thesis on boatbuilding in Winterton:

SUENT: a term used in Winterton to describe any surface which has the proper amount of smooth, unbroken curvature. For example, a hull consisting of smooth, "fair" curves would be called a "suent" hull, while a hull exhibiting many humps and hollows, or other signs of unevenness would not. 

And the Wooden Boat Museum of NL gives this:

Suent: A gradual and smooth curve over a surface area or length of plank or board.from 

Have you heard this word used? If so, comment below, or send me a note! dale@heritagenl.ca

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