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.


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


  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! :)

    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."

  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....

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