This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Thing To Do Today: label something.

My secondary school uniform required me to possess (among many other things) a pale blue airtex hockey shirt, a pair of navy blue short hockey culottes, a pair of white tennis shorts, a navy blue swimming costume and red swimming hat.

(I must add here that it was an exceedingly ordinary state school.)

All items of clothing had to be labelled. In those days labelling was done with purchased name tags, and this meant that every one of those labels had to be sewn on by hand (an exception was made for the swimming hat. I think that was marked in indelible pen). 

File:Label for dangerous goods - class 4.3.svg
Label for school swimming hat*. Art by Mysid

In addition to the name tags, the items listed above had to be marked with a circle of precise diameter (one inch for the shirts, two inches for the culottes and shorts) with one's initials inside, all hand-embroidered in red silk.

The absolutely massive resentment engendered by having to do all that embroidery was one of the reasons I disliked school sports teachers so much.

Nowadays, however, I rather enjoy labelling things. Herbs, manuscripts, folders: a well-labelled shelf brings peace and order. 

Especially if the labels are beautifully printed in lower case courier bold, and I haven't got to form the letters with a blessed needle and thread.

Thing To Do Today: label something. This word comes from Old French from a Germanic language. Pleasingly, there's an Old High German word lappa, which means rag.

*No, not really.

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