This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 11 April 2011

Spot the frippet: frog.

It's not so easy to find a frog in my part of the world nowadays, but their spawn should be in ponds about now if you're in the Northern hemisphere.

Frogs are one of my favourite things. They're fantastic. I mean, some sorts of frogs keep their young safely in their mouths until they're in their adult form; some feed their young on a sort of frog-milk; some keep their young in holes in the skin of their backs; and...hey, but I could go on all day.

Take the strawberry poison-dart frog, for instance. It lays its eggs on the forest floor, and then has to keep going back to pee on them to keep them moist. Then, when they hatch, it gives each tadpole a piggyback into a nice safe leaf-pool, and keeps laying eggs for it as baby food until it can fend for itself.

That's even more fantastic than most fantasy - and I should know!

Spot the frippet: frog. This word is from the Old English frogga, and before that from the Old Norse froskr and Old High German forsk.

If an amphibious frog proves impossible to spot then perhaps you could look out for the bow of a stringed instrument: the frog is the bit you hold.
Or the loopy braid fastening on the front of a jacket is frogging.


  1. I like a nice frog as much as the next person but I don't know much about them. Thank Heavens for the Word Den I say. And I learned about hedgehogs too, a few posts ago. Marvellous stuff.

  2. And as incompetent knitters like me know, unravelling vast swathes of your knitting is also known as 'frogging'. Apparently because you are following the instructions of the frog voices in your head to 'rip it, rip it'...

  3. Ouch! And wooh, too! That seems to be a meaning that's not in any dictionary that I can find, Liz.
    You heard it first here!

  4. I didn't make it up though, I promise! Ask any knitter you know!

  5. And one of the most surprising things about playing in The Word Den is discovering how much stuff dictionaries don't know - or have actually got wrong!

  6. I concur with Liz completely...a well known US term for ripping up knitting and constantly used...I didn't know the RIPIT RIPIT thing but it makes sense to me. Good old Word Den and good old Liz...