This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 3 March 2014

Spot the frippet: trivet.

So did you leap up this morning all shiny with enthusiasm, as fit as a fiddle and as right as a trivet?

No? Thought not.

Never mind. Even in your eyes-mostly-gummed-shut, trembling, whimpery Monday way you should be able to spot a trivet quite easily.

The original sort of a trivet, which was a metal stand on legs used for supporting a pot over a fire, might not be easy (unless someone starts a fashion for outdoor cooking in a cauldron. And, after all, why not? A bowl of hot stew is just what you need in an English spring) but the sort of trivet which is used to protect a surface from something hot is simple.

No, it really is. Just take a newspaper, fold it, put it on a table, and place your coffee cup upon it.

There we are, Mission accomplished.

As for something that's as right as a trivet, that expression first appeared in the 1800s. It started off as steady as a trivet, and then changed to right as a trivet (that's right as in upright). From there  the right in this expression soon came to be understood as sparkily healthy.

I don't suppose many of us are awake enough yet to know whether we're healthy or not.

But I hope you get there by lunchtime.

File:Trivet, French.JPG
Photo by Robert Lawton

Spot the frippet: trivet. This word comes from the Old English trefet, from the Latin tripēs, having three feet.


  1. I wonder if I could stick a trivet on top of our wood-stove, as it's pretty gosh dang cold outside, and a bowl of stew sounds wonderful!
    We do use an old pot on top of it when we lose power, but a trivet would be much better!

    1. That's an encouraging thought, Jingles. Who needs gas when we can have a saucepan of stew cooked over a fire?