This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 16 December 2013

Spot the frippet: quarry.

The trouble with spotting a quarry is that they're usually hidden behind high safety gates. The other trouble with trying to find a quarry is the       

                                                     ...splut thing.

Luckily there are other sorts of quarry about. For a start, a  quarry can be more or less anything you're trying to find. For a hedgehog that'll include slugs, and for a robin it'll include worms.

"European Robin with Earthworm" by Rasbak, Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Rasbak.

Mm. Nice slippery slurpy worms. Yum!

Even easier, a quarry is a square or diamond shape. This is why quarry tiles are so called, and not because the clay of which they are made has come from a quarry, though it probably will have done.

Lastly, a quarry can be a small diamond-shaped pane of glass:

File:Old window, Camowen - - 626977.jpg
Photo by Kenneth Allen
or a square-sectioned cross-bow bolt.

Right. So I'm going out to see if I can find a worm, then.

Good hunting!

Spot the frippet: quarry. The big hole word comes from the Latin quadrāre, to make square; the catching prey word comes from the Old French cuireé, what is placed on the hide [of an animal] ie entrails, from the Latin corium leather, probably with a bit of the French coree, entrails, mixed into the word; and the square shape comes from the Old French quarré, from the Latin quadrus, square.


  1. In surveillance and espionage terminology, a quarry is also the subject of the surveillance, although I think it's very old-fashioned and I didn't ever hear any police or PIs use it during my career. "Subject" was the generally used term, which isn't nearly as fun.

    1. I used to think it was a splinter, as in:

      O come thou branch of Jesse draw/The quarry from the lion's paw.

      I think it was the branch thing did it. And Androcles.
      Still, it is quite Christmassy.
      Rejoice! Rejoice! Emma-a-a-nuel....