This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 19 May 2014

Spot the frippet: scintilla.

Now this is really hard to spot.

A scintilla: the merest trace or hint or particle.

An absolutely minute amount.

It's the taste of the saffron in the paella

File:Saffron-spice adjusted.jpg

and the light of a single glow worm in a meadow.

It's the scent of a far-away lime tree; it's the shooting of a meteor.

The kindness in the eye of a frosty teacher (good luck with that one).

The sky-scribble of a butterfly in the corner of the eye.

Can you sense it?

Can you?

Well, you're a bright spark, then, aren't you?

Nelson Creek Glow-worms 25
Nelson Creek glow worms.

Spot the frippet: scintilla. This word came to England in the 1600s. It's Latin for spark.


  1. Whaaaaaa ... !?

    As someone that considers paella my speciality dish, I absolutely contest the assertion that saffron only contributes 'a scintella' of flavour! Certainly, many Spanish consider saffron to be omittable and instead use yellow colouring (mainly due to the price), but without saffron to give it that delicate honeyed, slightly metallic taste, it's just not paella at all ...


    1. I can't wait for Lexicolatry to get to the letter p so we can have the recipe, Eddie. Actually, do you have a link so we can have an Eddie-authorised recipe anyway? It's an interesting word I'd like to write about.

    2. No, no link I'm afraid, as it's all mine. But maybe a recipe will be a good idea for the post when I finally get there - it will certainly be a Lexi first.

      It is an interesting word, isn't it? It has prompted many lively discussions with fellow Spanish speakers, because when speaking English I pronounce it 'pie-ell-uh', but when speaking Spanish I pronounce it the Spanish way 'pah-ay-uh'. This is because (in my humble opinion), paella has become an established English word and therefore sticking resolutely to the Spanish pronunciation in this case would seem a tad pretentious.

      Just my opinion! : o )

    3. It would only sound pretentious if people knew what you meant, Eddie. And even if they did, it might just come over as wrong!