This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 13 April 2015

Spot the frippet: hide.

Here's a challenge:


Oops, sorry, someone must have gone and hidden it.

What's a hide? Well, it depends on where you're hiding. In Britain a hide is what Americans call a blind, if you're talking about somewhere to, well, hide in order to fool animals into thinking you're not there any more. (With some animals you have to be a bit more cunning - two of you go in, and one leaves, and then the animals think the hide is empty. If you're trying to fool crows then you have to turn up in a group of at least eight, and then seven of you have to leave, because crows are rather good at counting.)

You can use almost anywhere as this sort of a hide - a car, your house, a train. The important thing is to watch animals from it. (From here at this moment I can see a singing blackbird and several very fat wood pigeons.)

As if that sort of a hide isn't an easy enough spot, then the tough skin of most large animals (anything bigger than a deer, say,) is its hide, whether it's still got the animal inside it or not.

Then there's...well, everywhere. A hide, you see, is an old measurement of land varying from sixty to one hundred and twenty acres. That's about half a square kilometre. So, more or less any view will show you at least one hide.

And if you saw a horse from a train you might even manage to see all three different sorts of hide - skin, area of land, and hiding-place for watching animals - at once.

That would be quite cool, wouldn't it?

Spot the frippet: hide. The hiding-away sort of hide comes from the Old English hȳdan, from the Greek keuthein; the skin sort of hide comes from the Old English hȳd, from the Latin cutis, skin; the area-of-land hide comes from the Old English hīgid, which is related to hīw, family or household, from the Latin cīvis, citizen.  

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