This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 24 June 2011

Word To Use Today: vole.

Sometimes when I lift the lid of our compost bin I'm surprised to find a small vole sitting staring up at me. They're lovely things: like mice, only fatter, and with shorter tails.

If I'm down by the canal then I just might see a water vole, like Ratty of Tales of the River Bank fame (Ratty isn't really a rat at all).

Water voles are much rarer than they used to be where we live, but they seem to be making a bit of a come-back, thank heavens: they're lovely tame creatures, like swimming guinea pigs.

Then, of course, there's the vole clock. Yes, that's right, the vole clock. Vole teeth are always turning up on archaeological digs, and the changes in their teeth over the millennia are useful for dating sites (that's giving dates to artefacts, not...but you know what I mean!)

Hugely pleasingly, there's also a small group of creatures called mole voles. Isn't that great? I suppose, given their name, there must be mole vole holes, too, hurray!

Word To Use Today: vole. Perhaps in the phrase that car in front is so slow they probably have a vole clock instead of a speedometer.

The word vole is short for volemouse. The vole bit is from the Old Norse vollr, field.

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