I was reading a blog where the author mentioned he had to help a family member out with computer problems so that he could “protect the family escutcheon.” Escutcheon is a great word — but I’m wondering a wee bit if it was somewhat misused.
Escutcheon (i-skuhch–uh-n) is a noun that has two meanings. The first is a shield or a shield-shaped emblem that bears a family coat of arms. So, did this fellow have to protect that shield? How can helping a family member with computer problems have anything to do with a shield with the family’s coat of arms? Maybe the blog author was referring to the second meaning.
The second meaning for escutcheon is a blot or stain on one’s reputation. A disgrace. This seems to make more sense. The family member was going to an Ivy League school and her computer crashed when she needed to send the year’s most important paper to a professor. So the blog author was trying to rescue the girl from failing a college class at a prestigious school — which could put a blot on the girl’s scholastic reputation. And, stain the family’s reputation, too.
If the author meant the second meaning, he should have instead said “protect the family FROM escutcheon.” He was supposed to help so the stain or the disgrace would not happen. Hopefully, with his help, the college student would be able to resurrect her computer and send the paper to the professor and thereby pass the course and all would be well.
He never did say if he was able to save the day. But, he hinted that all did not end well. And, if that was the case, maybe HE suffered an escutcheon on his reputation from the failed attempt at being a wizard with computers. Poor soul!