This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Thing Not To Do Today: panic.

It's in the woods that panic strikes hardest.

Or so they say.

It's when you're trapped in the labyrinth of the trees that you panic; when the branches are catching your sleeve, and the leaves are full of sinister whispers.


Mind you, seeing some boiling milk climbing up the sides of a saucepan can have very nearly the same effect.

Most things with panic in their name - panic attack, panic-button - are to do with being very afraid, but panic grass is a name for the grasses of the family Panicum, which includes millet. Panic grass is used to feed animals, and is therefore, thank heavens, a Calming Influence.

I'm afraid panic of a particular sort has been all around us here in England just lately: panic-buying. An announcement that there wasn't going to be a strike by fuel-tanker drivers was enough to clean out every petrol station in town.

Yes, I really do wish that made sense, but then I suppose the essence of panic is that it doesn't make sense. Ah well.

Just DON'T panic!

That's Clive Dunn, Ian Lavender, Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier in the WW2 Situation Comedy Dad's Army, written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft

Thing Not To Do Today: panic. The word meaning fear comes from the Greek god Pan, who had a habit of scaring everyone witless.
The grass comes from the Latin pānicum, which is probably from pānicula, which means tuft. Panic meaning grass is the older word in English by about two hundred years.


  1. Keep calm and carry on...that's my motto these days. I love the connection with the Greek god Pan, who was a bit...well, sinister! And those cloven hoofs ( hooves? Dunno!) never a good look.

  2. As far as the hooves/hoofs go, you seem to be able to choose, Adele.
    Yes, Pan was never what you'd call loveable. And he played those horrible pan pipes, too.