This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 23 March 2015

Spot the Frippet: sneck.

I love watching things being done properly.

(Hey, wouldn't seeing-things-being-done-properly make interesting television? I still remember the video of the Jaffa Cake machine (I think it might have been shown on Playschool), which gave me one of the supreme moments of televisual ecstasy of my life.)

The trouble is, let's face it,  we are surrounded by clumsy idiots, so what can we do? Well, we can look at something that's been carefully made already. And this is where sneck comes in.

A sneck is a square stone put in to fill in a gap in a rubble wall. In skilled hands it's the difference between a rubble wall and...well, rubble.

If you're not in a place where there are many rubble walls around, a sneck is also the latch or catch of a door or gate. You sneck a gate if you close it, too.

To the Scots a sneck is a snick or a nick - that is, it can be a notch cut or knocked out of something, or a knot in a thread.

Basically, it's something that's been slightly spoiled or bungled.

Ah, well, that makes spotting a sneck it even easier, doesn't it.

Spot the Frippet: sneck. This word first appeared in the 1400s as snekk. No one is sure where it came from, but snick probably comes from Scandinavia. The Old Norse snikka means to whittle.

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