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Monday 19 December 2011

Spot the frippet: sylph

All right the original sylphs were fairy-type things which inhabited the air, and, fair enough, they aren't so easy to spot. 

But there are other sorts of sylph, and if you are going to spot one then now is a good time as, obviously, it isn't only the turkey that gets itself well stuffed at Christmas, and few of us will see the New Year in anything like a sylph-like state.

It also gives me the opportunity to mention Paracelsus the Bighead again (BOOOOOO!). It seems to have been he who came up with the word sylph. I don't know why he did it, but there you are, he poked his nose in everywhere.

Apart from being a figment of Paracelsus the Bighead's imagination a sylph can be a slender and graceful girl. These are fun to spot (and some of them might even be frippets, as well, hurray!).

They are also, most beautifully, hummingbirds with long forked tails.

 This is a violet-tailed sylph.

And as if that wasn't enough, there are dragonfly sylphs, too.
Spot the frippet: sylph. This word seems to have been cobbled together by our old friend Paracelsus the Bighead from the Latin word sylvestris, which means of the wood, and nympha, which means nymph.

The plural is either sylphes or sylphi or sylphen. And, quite honestly, I don't see with all that variety why we shouldn't add another to them and say sylphs

Except that our false teeth would probably fall out if we tried.


  1. I say SYLPHS! Love that bird though. And will trhy at attain more sylph like stature when this eating bonanza is over...there's a word for you!

  2. Bonanza, eh? Now that's a lovely bouncing New-Year sort of a word. Must look it up!


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