This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 13 March 2017

Spot the Frippet: languet.

For some of us this will involve a mirror.

A languet is (and I quote my Collins Dictionary) anything resembling a tongue in shape or function. 

Well, that presumably includes a tongue, then. Can you see your tongue without using a mirror? 

I can't.

Going back to that definition, I find the function bit jolly intriguing. What on earth performs the function of a tongue except, well, a tongue?

A chap stick, which does sort of act as a lip-moistening device? 

A spoon? (Well, it saves you having to lap up your soup, or your porridge.)

A toothbrush?


No, I can't say I'm really convinced by any of these, but the word languet has existed in English since the 1400s, so someone must have found a use for it at some point.

If we can't find something that resembles a tongue in function, what about in form?

File:Komodo dragon with tongue.jpg
photo of a Komodo Dragon by Mark Dumont

I suppose there are ferns; 

File:Spiers harts tongue fern.JPG
photo of a hart's tongue fern by Rosser1954

and then there are the things behind the laces on shoes and boots:

File:S3 safety footwear.jpg
photo by Francis Flinch

...but the trouble is that you don't need a special word for those because they're all just called tongues.

Hmm...I may have found a truly useless word, here.

It's really rather sad.

Spot the Frippet: languet. (You say it lang-gwet). This word comes from the Old French languette, a diminutive of langue, tongue.

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