This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 21 August 2015

Word To Use Today: vinegarroon.

You can guess quite successfully a lot of the time, with words.

A vineyard, for instance, may not be much like the thing the English think of as a yard (ie a concreted-over area where large ugly things are dumped and left to moulder) but even so it's easy to guess that a vineyard is a place for growing vines.

So, to vinegarroon.

What do you think it is? A bowl for holding vinegar (I mean, it does sound quite like spittoon, doesn't it)?

A pirate who smuggles vinegar? (I have a feeling I'm making some connection here with Brigadoon, and then to brigantine, and then to brigand...which is several long hops in the wrong direction.)

Could a vinegarroon be a person who swamps all their meals with vinegar (the oon bit in this case as in buffoon)?

No, none of those are even close. I'll give you a clue. The vinegar bit of this word is nothing to do with the taste. It's to do with the smell.

Ah, so is it a bottle for smelling salts?

Nope. Look, I'll tell you. A vinegarroon is Mastigoproctus giganticus - and I don't suppose you even want to think about what one of those might be, so here's a picture:

Mastigoproctus giganteus 0004 L.D..jpg

Yes, it's big, isn't it. You find it in the southern USA and Mexico (this is a relief to me because I live in England). A vinegarroon is a whip scorpion, which is like a scorpion without a sting. Which is something.

It doesn't usually smell of vinegar: it only does that when it's afraid.

So let's just thank our lucky stars that humans aren't named for the smells we make when we're afraid, shall we?

Word To Use Today: vinegarroon. This word comes from the Mexican Spanish vinagrón, from the Spanish vinagre, vinegar.


  1. Nothing to say but OH MY GOD! Keep him away from me!

    1. I think you should be safe in Cambridge, Adele. The English one, anyway.