This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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



Friday, 4 October 2013

Word To Use Today: squinch.



Squinch.

Who could resist using a word like that, whatever it means? 

It's brilliant, for instance, for giving an air of authenticity to a quotation

As Mr Squinch says...

Ten to one people will assume that the said Mr Squinch is someone from  Dickens, especially if you simper a little and look very wise as you say it.

(Actually, I haven't read all of Dickens myself. So for all I know Mr Squinch might well be someone from one of his novels.)

Or how about: have they offered you a drink?

Not a squinch.

It works brilliantly, doesn't it.

Okay, though, but what is a squinch, really?

One of these:


Squinches supporting a dome in Odzun Basilica, Armenia.

Yes, a squinch is built out from the corner of a wall so that a square tower can support a round or octagonal one.

They were probably invented in Iran.

I think it's a waste of a lovely word to have the thing stuck up inside a dark church tower, though, and I really think might try giving Mr Squinch an outing.

Beans don't ripen in a bird's nest, as Mr Squinch says.

Word To Use Today: squinch. The official word comes from the Middle English sconcheon, from the Old French escoinson, from coin, corner.

Which as it happens is pretty much where we were last week


4 comments:

  1. Squinch is definitely wasted on that doodad!

    In the U.S., squinch is also a verb from the 1830s meaning to squint, and also to crouch down so as to make yourself look smaller.
    I squinch often! Both meanings! :)

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    1. Ooh, thanks for that, Jingles, that's fascinating.

      The crouching squinch will come in ever so useful for photographs: "Can't you squinch down a bit, you great lout, I can't see Grandma."
      Wonderful!

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  2. Yup! Lovely word. I think it's like squash but also related to eyes. "He squinched his eyes against the broling sun." Wilbur Smithy sort of book....

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    Replies
    1. Ox skulls, burning sand, tumbleweed, it's all there.
      What a word!

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