This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 23 September 2013

Spot the frippet: quoin.

Q words are special,* and quoin is a particularly satisfying example, I think.

I'm sure you've seen them, even if you've never realised it.
Quoins are decorative blocks on the outside corners of a wall.

Can you see them?

Sometimes they give strength to a wall made mostly of stuck-together rubble, and sometimes they're just to show off.

The keystone of an arch can be called a quoin, too:

And so can a wooden wedge used to lock up type firmly into a frame:

Quoins are also wedges used to get a cannon to point up at the right angle.

Quoins: yes, they're all over the place.

And isn't it good to have a name for them?

Spot the Frippet: quoin. This word arrived in English in the 1500s. It's a variant of coin meaning corner.

*All right, you can spell this word coign or coigne, but it's not the same.


  1. Ha!
    As I was reading I kept thinking coign!
    I've never seen the q spelling, but now that I have I like it much better.
    Because like you said, it's much more special! :)

    1. Queerer, and yet more queenly, I think.