This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 24 May 2013

Word To Use Today: tissue.

I could tell you all sorts of things about the word tissue.

I could tell you that it's the word for the sheen on a narwhal's horn; I could tell you it's the term for the misty halo of light that you get round street lamps; I could tell you that it's the name for a cloud less than three hours old.

Unfortunately, if I did, I would be making up a tissue of lies...


So. Tissue. Mostly we sneeze into them (though the fact that we make the sound tissue when we do is a coincidence.)

So is the fact that tissues aren't made of tissue paper.

And what's the connection between tissue paper and tissue culture, which is to do with keeping parts of a living thing alive in a laboratory?

Well, not a lot is the answer to that question, but tissue culture   gives us tissue type, which tells us who can give bits of themselves (a kidney, for example) to whom successfully.

Lastly, there's the fabric sort of tissue, which is a fine gauzy cloth, originally threaded through with gold or silver. From this we get the name of the fabric-wrapped acrobatic display Aerial Tissue:

which is nearly as marvellous and extraordinary as the sheen on a narwhal's horn.

Word To Use Today: tissue. This word comes from the Old French tissu, from tistre, to weave, from the Latin texere.

Toilet Paper Roll Clip Art


  1. Sally!!! I'm so disappointed that it's not a cloud less than three hours old - for a moment I was in that most wonderful place of having discovered a new and magical word. But no. It was all a wicked, wicked deception, you old trickster, you!

  2. Also, the 'human recognition code' for my last comment was 'Howbeit pruestr'.

    That's remarkably like: 'How be it, Pruester?'

    We were talking about rampant informality, weren't we? Now it seems even the captcha code are getting in on the act : o )

    1. Pruester. I quite like that. Sal doesn't work where I live because the local accent turns it into SOW, but I'm happy to be the Pruester!

      Would that make me the first person ever to be given a nickname by a computer program? How glorious that would be.

      And, Ed: if we both say a cloud less than three hours old is a tissue, then doesn't it mean that it IS?

    2. Yes it does. We just have to start saying it with absolute conviction. And if anyone asks me how I know, I'll tell them The Pruester told me so.