This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Thing Not To Do Today: scoff.

You, write a blog? Huh! Does anyone ever read it?

That dress? It makes you look like a fairy elephant.

You're only up to level eighty-six?


You don't have to be clever to scoff. You don't have to be clever to be unkind and contemptuous. 

How horrible it must be to harbour such a desire for cruelty.

As it happens there's another sort of scoff, a mostly British and comparatively lovable thing. It means to eat greedily.

That sort of scoff  has a really interesting derivation, too.

Still life by Pieter Claesz 1627.

Thing Not To Do Today: scoff. The word meaning to jeer probably comes from Scandinavia (there's an Old Frisian word skof which means mockery). The word meaning to eat greedily is a variant of scaff, food, which is related to the Dutch schoft, quarter of the day, and hence one of the four daily meals. 


Can I be Dutch, please?