This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Thing Not To Do Today: be trammelled.

First of all, that double L in trammelled. It's correct here in England, but not in some of the rest of the world.

What can I do about it?

Well, I refuse to be tramelled by a spelling, so all I can do is suggest that anyone seriously worried by that double L either see a sanity professional or get a life.



This is a lovely word with (to me) something of the chewiness of toffee, but I'm afraid it means to hinder or ensnare.

So: keep an eye out for trammellers. Watch out for that lady from across the road - you know, the nosy one with the fastest mouth in the West.

Remember that the person who's emailed you will not pay you back your money with huge amounts of interest, even though he says he's a prince.

Hey, and watch out! That man's got a questionnaire.

If it's any consolation, it's not just we humans who can get tramelled: a trammel net has three layers to make sure that fish (or occasionally birds) get thoroughly tangled up in it, and a trammel can also be a shackle used for teaching a horse to amble (which sounds cruel, though I don't know if it really is).
Rather more happily, a trammel can be an adjustable pothook for a fireplace or a crane, an instrument for drawing ellipses, a compass for drawing large circles, or a gauge used for adjusting the parts of machines.
Just remember: keep a sharp look-out for trammellers, all right?
And stay as free as you possibly can.
Thing Not To Do Today: be tramelled. This word comes from the Old French tramail, three-mesh net, from the Latin trēs three, and macula, a hole, or the mesh in a net.



1 comment:

  1. I love this word....very interesting in all its spellings. Quite poetic too.