This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 20 May 2011

Word To Use Today: baffle.

I've been trying to write this post all day, but blogspot seems to have been really quite poorly. Still, it's made me appreciate the nice Blogspotmen who usually have this space all buffed up and ready for play.

Thanks, Spotmen!

Anyway, you can see why I've chosen baffle as my word of the day.

It's a lovely word, baffle: it has hints of fluff and buffoon and waffle. It's quite a different sort of word from frustrate, even though it means pretty much the same thing. 

Apart from its most usual meaning, a baffle is also a gizmo which controls the flow of liquid or light or sound.

You get them in loudspeakers a lot, apparently - though really, if baffles were truly effective, wouldn't they'd be softspeakers?

Word To Use Today: baffle. This word might come from the Scots word bachlen meaning to condemn publicly, or it might be from the French word bafouer which means to disgrace. But no one is quite sure.

The etymologists are baffled!

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