This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 13 May 2013

Spot the frippet: flange.

Flange is one of the God-given words, like mollycoddle and scrummage, which it is impossible to contemplate without joy.


Flange: flange, flange, flange, flange!

Do you see what I mean?

The fact that a flange is in itself rather a dull thing doesn't matter. A flange is glorified by the fact that it's called, well, a flange.

Flanges are used mostly for strengthening things - perhaps to make a collar round a hole in some metal, or as part of a metal joist.

Where to see them?

Well, flange rails are nice and obvious, because trains generally run on them.

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A closet flange:

may have been doing sterling service in a small room of your house for years, so in simple justice it's probably time it was appreciated.

The extra bits at the toe and heel of these ski boots, which are used to fix them onto the skis, are called flanges, too.

Apart from that, flanging is part of the process of blocking a felt hat, and, since the word flange was used on the BBC TV series Not The Nine o'Clock News between 1979 and 1982:


 it's been the collective noun for a group of baboons.

Spot the frippet: flange. This word appeared in the 1600s. It's probably a variation of flaunche, which is a curved section at the side of a heraldic field, and before that from the French flanc, which means flank.


  1. We disagree on this one Sally - for me, 'flange' is firmly in the same category as 'moist'. I don't know why, but it's just a bit ick and it's impossible to say it and still expect to be taken seriously : o )

  2. You want to be taken seriously, Ed?

    Ah well.

  3. There are times, yes, and during those times I do not use the word flange!