This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 4 May 2012

Word To Use Today: raffle.

What a source of excitement is a raffle.

Okay, if you win you'll probably only get a bottle of dodgy wine or a set of soaps all smelling slightly of something rotten: but, hey, it was all in a good cause, wasn't it. And you can always give the metre-high blue furry crocodile to the nearest child*.

Apart from raising money for charities, Raffles gave us a beautiful city state. That was Singapore, which was founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1819.

We mustn't forget the cricketer and gentleman thief A J Raffles in the books by by E W Hornung, either.

And then finally there's Rafflesia arnoldi:

 which is a plant named after the leader of the expedition that discovered it,** the Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles mentioned above. 

Rafflesia arnoldi is a parasitic plant (so I suppose it's another thief, in a way, just like AJ Raffles) and it has flowers which grow up to 45 centimetres across and smell very strongly of...well, of rotting meat, I'm afraid. Hey, but at least it's popular with carrion flies.

Hmmm....that's almost enough to make me wonder if raffle is quite as lovely a word as I'd thought.

Word To Use Today: raffle. This word arrived in England in the 1300s from France, where it was the name of a dice game.

*As long as you aren't acquainted with its parents.

** It was really discovered by Louis Deschamps, but the British seized all his notes, and these didn't resurface until after Sir Thomas' lot had rediscovered the plant.

1 comment:

  1. Don't like the look of that plant AT ALL but have stayed at the wonderful Raffles Hotel in Singapore. This was in 1952 ish and I expect it's changed a lot. Was the last word in luxury back then.