This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 14 April 2014

Spot the frippet: pean.

This is an ridiculously easy spot if you're a lord or a monarch.

Paen ermine is a sort of fur found on Coats of Arms. Usually ermine is white with black "spots" on it, like this:

(Ermine is the fur you get when you sew the skins of winter-coat stoats together (the black bits are the tail-tips)).

Ermine Paen is much the same, but this time the background colour is black, the spots are gold, and the stoats must presumably have been painted.
The other sort of pean (that's the US spelling: I would usually write paean) is a song of praise.

Where do you find those?

Well, in a church (hallelujah!) or at a sports match, or, most easily of all, in television advertisements:

It's the real thing
Coke is
What the world needs today
O-o-oh yeah
It's the real thing.
Or perhaps:

Birds Eye Potato Waffles, they're waffly versatile. Grill ‘em, fry ‘em, bake ‘em, eat ‘em, they’re waffly versatile.

I can't honestly claim to be very fond of either product, but you can't argue with the fact that Coke IS real. As for Birds Eye Potato Waffles, they might well be waffly versatile. As I'm not sure what waffly means in this context it's hard to say.


One good thing about a paen is that it doesn't have to be sung - a few simple words of praise will do - so all you have to do is say how brilliant something is there's your paen falling off your teeth.

For instance, for those of you without an idea about whom or what to be nice: The Word Den - it's BRILLIANT! either said or sung, would make an excellent paen.

Given the extreme difficulty of painting stoats, I think I'm going to restrict myself to spotting the singing sort of a pean.

I like a nice cup of tea in the morning...

Spot the frippet: paen, or paean (if it's the song, and that's how it's spelled where you are). The praise song word comes from the Greek paiān, which is a hymn to the god Apollo, Paiān meaning doctor to the gods.
 No one knows where the fur word comes from.


  1. Ah, the Word Den IS brilliant.
    It's mirabundous. And fizzing.
    It's hunkum-bunkum. And precellent.
    It's toploftical. And clinking.
    It's a bobby-dazzler of a blog!

    One thing it's not is waffly!

    1. Wow, thanks so very much, Jingles. You're very kind. What could be more glorious than a paean from someone with a vocabulary somewhat wider than the Mackenzie River in springtime.
      Mind you, I hope hunkum-bunkum means something different from bunkum.
      More words from Jingles can be found as Words and Phrases from the Past. There's a link on the blogroll.