This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: burin.

It's such a boring word, burin. But that's quite appropriate.

It's quite a blunt word, too (you say it BYOORin); and that isn't appropriate at all, for a burin is a chisel with a sharp point which is used for making gouges in metal or wood or marble.


Burin Square #1

You'd use a burin to do an engraving.

An engraver's individual style is called his burin, too, which is enough to put you off acquiring one, but there have been artists so dedicated they didn't let it put them off.

That's a Bewick swan, engraved by, who else, Thomas Bewick.


was engraved by Albrecht Durer (no one ever named a rhino after him, but this must have been something of a relief).

People have used burins for thousands of years. There are even prehistoric burins, which are quite like the modern ones, except made out of flint.

File:Burin Brassempouy 213.3 Profil.jpg
Photo by Didier Descouens.

One thing is almost certain, though: and that's that prehistoric man had a better name for the thing than burin.

Word Not To Use Today: burin. This word has come to us from France, and before that perhaps from Italy, and before that from some Germanic language. The Old High  German boro means auger, the Latin forāre means to pierce and the Greek pharos means ploughing.

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