This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 18 May 2015

Spot the Frippet: something minuscule.

Did you know that this writing:

 is just as minuscule as this:


Obviously the second one is much smaller, but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it.

Minuscule is the opposite of majuscule, and majuscule describes the sort of large letter or letters often found at the beginning of a chapter or a page.

Beowulf_firstpage pd wikimedia commons
That's the beginning of Beowulf.

You know the sort of thing. Majuscule letters are rather useless, but they're pretty, give the printers and designers a bit of a break, and formerly gave people space to draw little monsters or saints and stuff.

File:Elkanah and wives illuminated letter.jpg
That's Elkanah and his wives.

Minuscule describes all the ordinary-sized letters - or it can just mean lower-case (that is, not CAPITALS).

Minuscule can also mean anything that's very small indeed, of course, and I suppose spotting something like that shouldn't be easy. But it is. Search for the pores under a leaf (or on your nose); examine a grain of flour; a butterfly's egg; your reflection in a kitten's eye; a foxglove seed; a speck of pollen...

File:Misc pollen.jpg

Then, with the world buzzing around you all its infinite wonder, tread the whole day very softly indeed. 

Spot the Frippet: something minuscule. This word is Latin and was borrowed from the phrase littera minuscula, which means very small letter. Before that it comes from the Greek meiōn, which means less.

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