This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 5 August 2013

Spot the frippet: crank.

In Britain a crank is someone odd, and in the USA it's someone bad-tempered.

Hm. This isn't going to be difficult either way, is it.

Even if you're surrounded by models of good humour and balanced logic (do send your address, if so) then there are other cranks available for spotting.

A crank is basically a bent handle.

Here's one:

and here's another (the treadle bit)

And if you thought those were out-of-date, how about this paddle-boat:

that comes from the 1400s.

If that boat had had sails, then it might have been cranky, which means easily keeled over by the wind.

Cranks on vehicles are usually hidden inside crankcases, nowadays, but here's a compound crank that's not changed much in centuries:

Seeking out your nearest crowd is still going to be the easiest way to spot this frippet, though.

Spot the frippet: crank. This word comes from the Old English cranc, and is related to the Middle Low German krunke, wrinkle.


  1. I actually remember the cranks in the following picture
    Which probably made more than a few people rather cranky!

    Link to picture

    1. Thanks for the evocative picture, Jingles. I'm sure you're right, though probably no more cranky than the starter motors which replaced them. On a frosty morning our road used to be filled with dying, pathetic and useless coughing.

      And sometimes the cars sounded even worse.

  2. Cranks means a vegetarian restaurant to me! I have a superb Cranks recipe book on my shelves! But I like the look of these?

    1. I remember the Cranks restaurants, too.

      Just pushing open the door enabled one to feel vastly virtuous, green, trendy and rather smug.

      It was a bit like The Bodyshop, really.