This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 16 November 2015

Spot the Frippet: something flexuous.

The Romans abandoned England sixteen hundred years ago, but they left their mark. There are walls, and mosaics, and the ruins of towns. 

Most of all, there are roads.

It's easy to tell a Roman road because they're straight, and a straight road is unusual round here. Roman road-builders were anxious to guard against ambush; the English ones seem to have been rather more concerned with property rights.

In any case, England is naturally a wiggly sort of a place. The roads wriggle round the corners of fields, meander along rivers, skirt woods, go tiredly slantways up hills and zigzag down again.

Hemel Hempstead Map
(This is where I live)

Towns in other parts of the world are sometimes planned as grids, or circles, but our towns there a word for what they are? A tangle? A mess? A spilled can of worms?

Ah yes, but there is a word: flexuous. Full of bends. Yes, that's better. 

Why, it makes the English lack of planning and efficiency sound positively charming.

Spot the Frippet: something flexuous. This word comes from he Latin flexuōsus meaning full of bends, from flexus a bending.

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