This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 11 February 2013

Spot the frippet: clobber.

Here's a lovely word, and something that's the easiest thing in the world to spot.

Let's face it, you're surrounded by clobber. What are you reading this on? Probably a bit of clobber.

What are you wearing?

Almost certainly clobber.

What will you take with you when you move house?

A load of clobber.

Yes, clobber means your possessions, and especially your clothes and accessories (though it also means anything that clutters up the house).

Not quite all your possessions are clobber, though: your Raphael Madonna, if you should happen to possess such a thing, isn't clobber; and neither is your diamond ring or your First Folio Shakespeare. But everything you don't prize as irreplaceable is clobber.

Opinions will vary as to what constitutes clobber, naturally. I mean, there are those who prize their collections of old beer bottle labels. There was a man on the radio who owned over a hundred thousand car tax discs.

Some people infest their gardens with gnomes:

Design - garden_gnomes

Although practically all of us will have no trouble at all spotting clobber, for completeness I ought to acknowledge the sort of clobber which means to thump or to criticise someone; and also the sort of clobber which means to paint over existing decoration on a piece of pottery.

So if someone tells you they're going to clobber your amusing frog vase don't clobber them; they might just possibly be meaning to do you a favour.

Spot the frippet: clobber. This word arrived in the English language in the 1800s. The possessions and the painting meanings are thought to be connected, but no one really knows from whence the word arrived.

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