This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Monday, 7 February 2011

What does Paul McCartney have on his arms that most people have on their chimneys?

Spot the frippet 3.

Oh, this is a lovely word. Flaunch. A bit of fling and a bit of haunch - two other fantastic words - all rolled into one.

But what can one be? I mean, what could Sir Paul McCartney have on his arms? Tattoos of Father Christmas? Blackbirds singing in the dead of night? A pair of small television aerials?

Well, none of these as far as I know. HERE are Sir Paul's arms - and in this case arms means his patterned shield. Each knight has his own pattern because of course you can't tell who's who when they've got their helmets on, and biffing the wrong guy is really embarrassing.

And the flaunch? Well, there are two of them - they're the black fish-shaped bits with the gold line running through them that are on either side of the central golden guitar.

As for the chimneys...Well, we are lucky enough to have flaunches all round us. HERE is a very badly-made one. Because as well as being a pattern on a shield, a flaunch is the very important ring of mortar that stops the rain getting down the join between a roof and a chimney.

Flaunch. From the French word flanc, which means, not surprisingly,  flank.

You've probably been relying on one all your life and never known it.

Hey, and isn't it interesting how not knowing the name for something can make it invisible?


  1. Catching up with this blog after days away and unable to concentrate on it and how wonderful to find such treasures! I LOVE the word Flaunch and had never met it before even though I counted myself quite literate really in terms of HERALDRY etc. As for Dimanche, the sleeves explanation is much better and I will choose to believe that. Is it the same sort of thing that has the origin of MARMALADE as what her maids said about Mary Queen of Scots when she pined for orange jam on moving from France to Scotland: MARIE EST MALADE....Mary is ill. Maybe the Word Den could look into this for me! And I so agree about the Railway Children and E Nesbitt. Lovely!

  2. I love the Marie-est-malade story, Adele, and shall research it at once!
    I think you're right - sometimes we learn more from things that aren't true than things that are.