This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 12 October 2015

Spot the Frippet: famulus.

A famulus is the attendant of a sorcerer or a scholar:

File:Tovenaarsleerling S Barth.png
(Illustration by Ferdinand Barth)

Assuming that you don't happen to have a sorcerer handy, then you'll probably have to concentrate on spotting a scholar first and then looking out for someone who's attending him. This shouldn't be too difficult because most teachers, for instance, have assistants, and most librarians employ someone to dust their books.

In fact, in this highly educated world, spotting a scholar is no trouble at all. Doctors, lawyers, dustbin men...technically anyone who has been to school, or is at school, is a scholar (the word comes of course from the Latin schola, school), so we can count in the ranks of the famuli all frazzled parents on the school run, as well as all those despairing parents staring terrified at some Maths homework, the like of which they'd gleefully assumed they'd never have to bother about again.

Still, famulus. It does sound sort of...dignified, doesn't it.

That may be some small comfort.

Spot the Frippet: famulus. This word may sound dignified, but I'm afraid it's Latin for servant. 

Still, it explains a lot.

PS: Mus famulus is the servant mouse, and Gerbillis famulus is the Black-tufted Gerbil. The mouse is rare, but the gerbil isn't, very, so you may spot it if you happen to be in Yemen.


  1. I think if I were in Yemen I'd have other fish to fry but I get the point! :)

    1. If you were in Yemen, Adele, the presence of a Black-tufted Gerbil might be one of the most precious things in your life.