This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 31 March 2014

Spot the frippet: haze.

The bare branches of the trees outside my window are bright in the spring sunshine today, but the far-away hills are milky in the early morning haze.

File:Haze in Vashlovani National Park.jpg
Vashlovani National Park. Photo by Paata Vardanashvili

If we happen to have a hot day this summer then those same hills, now cool with mist, will be swimming in a heat haze. If it's hot for a long time then we might get dust rising up and...

...oh, but come off it. This is England. It's not going to happen, is it.
The hills are much more likely to be stolidly enduring a fine haze of rain.

Doi Phu Kha National Park

You can get a haze from smoke, but it's generally distance that produces a haze (I mean, what did you do last Tuesday? If you're like me then anything even as close as that is pretty hazy). Rage can cause the same effect. That's one reason why rage is so dangerous: most disasters are caused by not being able to see where you're going.

Distance, emotion, memory...what can you see really clearly?

Sometimes there's absolutely nothing so vital as spotting the haze.

Spot the frippet: haze. This word is delightfully hazy as to derivation. As far as I can see (which isn't far) no one has a clue from where the word has come.

There is another meaning of haze, used in North America, which is to subject someone (probably a fellow student) to ridicule or abuse; and there's a similar and perhaps linked sailors' term haze which means to harass with humiliating tasks.These words may come from hawze, to frighten, from Middle French haser, to irritate or annoy.


  1. I've been in a bit of a haze all day today after a restless night.
    Not too find of hazes, of any kind!

    1. Oh, I don't know...they can add an air of romance to a distant compost heap or tower block.

    2. Ah yes, they do have their uses!