This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Nuts and Bolts: langue d'ock.

Is there a more endearing way of shrinking something than the ancient and rare device of putting an ock at the end of it?

Examples include hillock, of course, and dunnock (a dunnock is a small dun (dun = brown) bird).

Then we mustn't forget the lovely buttock (said to come from the Old English buttuc which means round slope, and before that from butt, which meant a strip of land).

Mustn't forget the poor bullocks, either: they are smaller than they'd like to be, I should imagine.

And then there's the lovely puddock, which had been shrunk from pad, and means a frog or toad.

There are not that many examples, though. I think we could do with some more little-ock words (there are quite a few other words which end in ock, but the ock in haddock or tussock or mattock, for example, doesn't mean small).

Wouldn't our world be an even sunnier place if we could take the occasional nippock of whisky, for instance? Or a bittock of chocolate? 

I think mine would.

Word To Use Today: one ending in ock. Words formed in this way have been around since before the Norman Conquest, when they were generally spelled -oc or -uc.

By the way, the word yolk was formed in pretty much the same way, from the Old English word geolu, which meant yellow.

1 comment:

  1. Like the punning title!! Very good idea ..a bittock of chocolate will enter my personal lexicon right now!