This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 15 February 2013

Word To Use Today: spurdle.


So, you have an automatic soup-maker, do you?

And a nutmeg grater?

And a pasta server?

Ah, but do you have a spurdle? Or, alternatively, a spirtle?

Or even a spurtle?


Well, I can't say I'm surprised.

So what is a spurdle?

A spurdle is a porridge-stirring stick.

They look like this:

This one has a Scottish thistle-shaped top.

Unlike the automatic soup maker, spurdles have a long history of loyal usefulness to mankind, and have been around since at least the 1400s.

To start with a spurdle was a spatula-like thing for flipping oatcakes, but gradually the spurdle achieved its destiny: it grew rounder and sturdier (don't we all) and began being used specifically for stirring.

The shape is said to be perfect for stopping porridge clogging up or becoming unappetising.*

The Annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge-Making Championship is held in Carrbridge each year. They complete, of course, for the Golden Spurtle.

And as if that's not enough glory for one word, a spurdle is a dance, too.

Word To Use Today: spurdle. No one knows where this word comes from, but there's another Scottish word, spurkle, which means a stick used for beating flax or for thatching, and it may be related to that. 

*Yes, I know, they really must be magic.



  1. I linked to this page from my daily blog. Very interesting. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Dave!

      (And Dave's link is worth following, too: it has all sorts of random (in a good way) stuff.)