This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 15 April 2013

Spot the frippet: tattoo.

Can you spot something you can't see?

I hope so, because so many tattoos are invisible.

tattoo can be any repeated tapping sound - rain falling on a tin roof, the sound of hurrying stilettos in a tunnel, or the beating of all but the biggest sort of drum.

Nowdays, by extension, a tattoo is often a military parade or entertainment, but they started off as a drum-signal for soldiers to get back to their quarters.

The whole point of the other sort of tattoo is, however, to be highly visible. It art of tattooing has been practised for...well, more or less for ever. Otzi the Iceman, who died about 3300 BC had 57 tattoos.

This is the mummified right arm of a Scythian chieftain from over 2,500 years ago. If you can get over the uuurrgghh factor it's actually rather beautiful.

This sort of tattoo has been used both as decoration, and as symbols of status, tribe, culture, religion, heritage, and age.

Tattoos have recently gone through a stage of being rather fashionable. Well, whatever turns you on. But I will just mention the experience of someone (not me) who had a neat posy tattoo. It was rather lovely, but unfortunately with age it gradually morphed into a hanging basket.

Spot the frippet: tattoo. The drum-beat meaning comes from the Dutch taptoe, from the command tap toe! meaning turn off the taps (of the beer barrels). The word for bodily marking comes from the Tahitian word tatau

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