This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 14 March 2016

Spot the Frippet: paraphernalia.

File:Édouard Manet - Mme Guillemet.jpg

Madame Guillemet by Édouard Manet

Paraphernalia is the small stuff: the paraphernalia of gardening, for instance, includes trowels and spades and dibbers, but not the garden; the paraphernalia of riding consists of bits and bridles and jodphurs, but not the horse.

Though that doesn't mean that paraphernalia isn't sometimes all there is: writing a novel only seems to require paraphernalia (I think a laptop counts as paraphernalia); and so does applying make up.

Paraphernalia is an easy spot, anyway, whether you're drawing a picture or making a pizza.

And in this increasingly digital world (by which I mean, in the common way, one where the fingers don't have to be used with much skill) surely paraphernalia is something that should be especially admired, held, and cherished.

Spot the Frippet: paraphernalia. This word comes from Mediaeval Latin from the Latin parapherna, which means personal property of a widow apart from her dowry. That in turn comes from phērne, dowry, from pherein, to carry. In British law a woman's paraphernalia consisted of presents made to her by her husband before or during marriage, over which she should have some measure of control.

Should have some measure of control. Wow, generous, huh?

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