This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 19 March 2012

Spot the frippet: pin.

See a pin and pick it up

as the old rhymne goes,

And all the day you'll have good luck.

See a pin and let it stay
Bad luck will haunt you all the day...

...probably, I always thought, because you're quite likely to go and tread on it.

Pins are easy to spot. If you haven't got a safety pin holding some part of your outfit together:

then you might be wearing a pinafore over your dress.

Little Girl In A Red Dress And White Pinafore - John George Brown

Which might even be pin tucked:

File:StateLibQld 1 196895 Sgt Major Nickel and his wife.jpg

(the pin tucks in this picture are round the bottom of the bride's skirt - they're the small sewn-in pleats).

Or if you're at work then you might be able to spot a pinstriped suit; or, if you're at college in the USA, that odd thing the fraternity pin:

Theta Nu Epsilon fraternity pin

In England this is the beginning of the primrose season, and the way the central spiky bit pokes out of the middle of the flower makes them pin-eyed.

FichiƩr:Primula vulgaris.jpg
Photo by Chris Dixon.

Or if you're in Ireland you may see someone being put to the pin on his collar, which means being forced to make a huge effort.

But the pin I saw the other day, which thrilled me completely, was a pintail:

photo by JM Garg.

A real pin-up of a drake, he was, too.

Spot the frippet: pin. This word has hardly changed at all for a millennium. The Old English form was pinn, and the word is related to the Old High German pfinn and the Old Norse pinni, which means nail.

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