This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 29 July 2013

Spot the frippet: luthern.

Sometimes a word can cast a romantic glow over something quite ordinary.*

I mean, how can a luthern be anything but magical?

Luthern: the elf-queen who held one of the three stars of the West, but who faded away to a yearning shadow because she was so entranced with its shining that she could not take her eyes away to eat.

Fortunately for the frippet-spotters amongst us I just made that up. A luthern is really something much more prosaic:

File:Flat Roof Dormer windows on George Street - - 1286093.jpg
Oast House Archive

I've always called windows with their own little roofs dormer windows until now, which is sadly prosaic. But from now on they're going to be lutherns.

This is as it should be, for windows, like cats and mirrors, are extraordinary and other-worldly things. Rapunzel surely stood at a luthern. Sister Anne, looking out for Bluebeard, could surely never have been peering out of something as dull as a dormer.

When you spot your luthern, look at it properly and see if it'll tell you its story.

 I'm certain it will have one.

Spot the frippet: luthern. This word arrived in English in the 1600s. It's probably a version of lucarne, which is a similar sort of thing. Lucarne comes from the Provençal word lucana, but where lucana comes from is a mystery in itself.

*No, sorry, guys, this still doesn't mean you'll get away with buying your girl a calamondin for her birthday present.


1 comment:

  1. This is really interesting - a much nicer word than 'dormer window', and lovely imagery regarding the stories behind them too. Thanks Sally - I enjoyed that.