This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Thing Not To Do Today: flounce.

I always thought the words flounce and flounce were connected.

Well, you would, wouldn't you. I mean, one of the things a woman can do more easily than a man is flounce, that is, leave in a swirl of proud indignation, because the fabric of her skirt will bounce as she flounces, making the whole thing much more dramatic and impressive.

And that's another thing a woman can do more easily than a man: wear a skirt.

Now, the bounciest of skirts is held up by a crinoline, which is a series of springy hoops held together with tape.

A crinoline can't be rigid or it would be impossible to sit down. No, it sways. It bounces. And to accommodate this movement the skirt it supports must have plenty of spare fabric in it so that it sways and bounces, too, and doesn't just...wobble.

And what do you call an extra bit of fabric that's gathered and sewn-on?

A flounce.

So there we are. If a lady flounces off in a temper, the flounces on her skirt will draw themselves to the attention by bouncing about.

Now. Having explained the entirely logical connection between flounce and flounce I must tell you that it is entirely imaginary, and that flounce and flounce aren't connected at all.

Still, they should be, though, shouldn't they.

Thing Not To Do Today: flounce. Flounce meaning to leave in a temper comes from Scandinavia. Flunsa is a word in Norwegian, where it means to hurry, and also in Swedish, where it means to splash. Flounce meaning extra bit of fabric comes from the old French froncir, to wrinkle.

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