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 November 2011

Spot the frippet: leaflet.

Sometimes it seems as if we live under a permanent avalanche of leaflets.

They fall out of newspapers, and through the letter box; they are thrust upon us as we walk along the street; they lurk blandly by check-outs.

Leaflets for night clubs, cheap tyres, pizza parlours, window cleaners, estate agents, chair covers, insurance, hearing aids...

Even leaflets, bizarrely, about leaflet distributors.

Frankly, Vallombrosa* has nothing on it.

At this time of year, though, I have one small consolation.

Outside my window there is a very large ash tree. Now the leaves of ash trees are rather fern-like, and each section of each leaf is called, yes, a leaflet.

At this time of year every single one of those leaflets is letting go of its hold on the tree, swirling elegantly to the ground, and then DYING.

Which means I spend the whole winter looking forward to the tree coming into leaf again.

Ah well!

Spot the frippet: leaflet. This word means small leaf, of course. Leaf is an Old English word. It's related to the Gothic laufs and the Icelandic lauf.

By the way, there's a scrumptious word, unijugate, which means consisting of two leaflets, but I'm still looking for the chance to use that one.

*Vallombrosa is in Tuscany, and Milton mentions it in Paradise Lost: "autumnal leaves that strow the brooks in Vallombrosa".


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Candice. Your invitation to distribute myself was very funny, but I'm afraid I thought the link you sent wasn't suitable for a family blog.

  3. I had a friend called Lee who was known as Leaflet. It's a very pretty word I think and though I object to SOME leaflets enclosed with every paper and magazine, I'm quite happy to get others!