This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 20 January 2014

Spot the frippit: something lunulate.

The thing that's most obviously lunulate is, naturally, a lunula, which is the pale crescent that shows at the base of human fingernails. 

Ah good, I thought: spotting one of these is going to be easy.

And then I discovered that I don't have any. Nope. My nails are a uniform colour all the way down. Rats.

Ah well. I don't suppose it matters. In fact, if I do ever find time to worry about my lack of lunulae then that'll be a sign I'm leading a singularly blessed existence.

Anyway, lunulate. It means crescent-shaped.

The moon might be expected to be lunulate, and it is, though not at the moment because today it's very nearly full.

Never mind. We are surrounded by crescents in any case. Any orange, lemon or grapefruit is concealing quite a few of them. Here's a Leopard Lacewing, Cethosia cyane bearing some black crescents (it's very doubtful there are any Leopard Lacewings around at this time of year, but, hey, it's a nice picture).

File:Leopard Lacewing Cethosia cyane Richard Bartz .jpg
photo: Richard Bartz 

Or look at this Grey Reef Shark's mouth:

Grey reef shark

Beautiful, isn't it? Though I hope for your sake not easy to spot.

Still, the shark brings us neatly to the easiest way of all to spot a crescent shape.

What is it? 

Smile at people.

Do count how many smiles you have to give people until someone smiles back.

*It'd be really interesting to know the answer to this, particularly by location. Do people in rural places smile more or less than urban folk? Are city Africans better at smiling than suburban Russians? Do let me know what happens.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Spot the frippet: something lunulate. This word comes from the Latin lūna, which means moon.



  1. Well, you had me checking my nails, and I have 5 lunulae. I wonder if it's an age thing! :)

    I live in the boonies, and whenever we see anybody, it's smiles all around., along with a wave. The same goes for the closest town - mostly!
    But not many of them give the wonderful smiles like those delightful children in the picture. That's pure happiness!

    1. Waving, too? Good heavens. Rural Northern Canada might be the friendliest place on earth, then. I'll see how I get on round here and let you know.
      Of course it makes a difference whether the person who's smiling is someone you know, doesn't it.

    2. The first time I went to the Caribbean, I was driving around with my friends and I remarked "Wow! You guys know a lot of people." But no - Bajans just wave to everyone as they pass in their cars, showing off their lunulas to the world.

    3. The Bahamas sound gorgeous, Eddie. If I waved at a stranger round here they'd be trying to work out who I was for hours.

    4. We wave to complete strangers too!
      You should try it, along with a smile!
      At the very least, it will give others something other than the weather to talk about!

    5. It sounds a nice idea, but round here a wave means come-over-here-I-want-to-talk-to-you, or you're-walking-through-a-minefield. It's really to be used with caution!
      On the other hand you HAVE to wave if someone gives way to you in a car, or else they are entitled to be filled with murderous rage.

    6. People wave to each other in the country in Ireland too. It's good - I like it.

      (ps - Bajans are people from Barbados)

    7. Barbados! Sorry, of course they are. I even looked it up to check, but must have got muddled between Wiki and keyboard. Sorry, and thanks for correcting.
      If anyone waves to a stranger round here the most they'll get in reply is a minute flick of the three middle fingers (the arm still held resolutely by the side) and a dour grunt.