This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 24 October 2011

Spot the frippet: brace.

A Californian friend startled me not long ago with the information that she'd seen a world-famous baritone's red suspenders. 

To me, that meant he was wearing what an American calls a garter belt.

But no. Opera singers are required to wear all sorts of dubious costumes, but in this case the divine Gerald Finley was only trying to hold up his trousers. With what I'd call braces.

Apart from trouser supports, braces are drills with D-shaped bends in the handles to make them easier to turn. A brace can also be something which is added to make a joint stronger, or it can be a device for changing the tension of a drum.

It can be a pair of game birds, too.

These: { and } are also called braces. They are especially useful for indicating that two or more lines of music should be played by the same person.
(Part of Grieg's Spring Song has three lines of music for the poor pianist to play simultaneously, and is therefore very nearly impossible unless you have three hands and the ability to move them at the speed of sound. Well, that's my experience, anyway.)

You can see braces on teeth, too, of course, and amongst the rigging of sailing ships.

There we are: all braced up to spot the frippet.

Spot the frippet: brace. This word is from the Old French word which means two arms, from the Latin bracchia, arms.


  1. I'd like to see Gerald Finley in suspenders!

    I spotted four frippets on yesterday's Match of the Day. A brace is also two-thirds of a hat-trick, or two goals scored by the same player. And now I know the connection between 'brace' and 'two'.

  2. Very fascinating....and I like the SNOOP post too, esp. the lovely cartoon of Snoopy who's one of my favourite characters.

  3. Great to hear from you both!

    And the original hat-trick is of course from cricket, where it means three batsmen out with consecutive balls from the same bowler.