This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Thing To Do Today. Or possibly not. Screeve.

Screeve is a lovely word, now sadly fallen into disuse.

It can mean to write quickly or continuously, which is surely something to be encouraged.

Or it can mean to ooze, which surely none of us ever aspires to do.

Or, if you're a horse, it means to fall with the legs apart while running on ice.

What a language, eh? How marvellous to have a word for that.

A screeve can be a piece of writing, a banknote, or a begging letter.

Whereas a screever is a pavement artist. This is a very fine thing to be as long as you work in something washable, like chalk.

So there we are: screeve. It's what I'd call a really generous word, too.

Thing To Do Today. Or possibly Not. Screeve. The ooze meaning comes from the Old French escrever, where it is used of wounds (lovely!). The reading-and-writing meaning comes from the Latin scrībēre, which means to write; and the falling-on-ice meaning comes from the Norwegian word skreva, to straddle.

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