This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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



Monday, 26 June 2017

Spot the Frippet: damsel.

Coleridge, in an opium-enhanced vision, famously saw a damsel with a dulcimer. I'm prepared to accept that dulcimers are difficult to spot nowadays:

File:Appalachian dulcimer.JPG
Appalachian dulcimer, photo by Eihpossophie

but what about damsels?

A damsel is an out-of-date word for a young unmarried female or (to use another very old-fashioned word) maiden. The basic feeling behind the word is that a damsel is delicately beautiful, mysterious, and to be cherished.

Of course I know that nowadays young ladies are strong and independently-minded and equal to absolutely everything and all that, but, I don't know...perhaps it might be a nice to remember from time to time that they're also lovely and to be valued. Possibly even protected, sometimes.

If you cannot spot a damsel (for political reasons, perhaps?) then how about a damsel bug

File:Grey Damsel Bug - Himacerus major (15398326551).jpg
photo of a grey damsel bug by Line Sabroe

They're relations of the bedbugs, but they eat other insects instead of people. Which is sort of a good thing, I suppose, if you're human.

A damselfly is a type of small dragonfly which tends to rest with its winds folded across its back.

File:Common blue damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) male lateral.jpg
photo of a Common Blue Damselfly by Charlesjsharp of  Sharp Photography, sharpphotography

Or there are damselfish, which are very beautiful, though I must admit unlikely to be spotted swimming along a High Street near you.

File:Cocoa damselfish.jpg
photo of a Cocoa* Damselfish from USGS

Still, who needs them when you have so many of the human kind around?

File:The Damsel of the Sanct Grael or Holy Grail.jpg
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Damsel of the Sanct Grael.

Spot the Frippet: damsel. This word comes from the Old French desmoisele, from the Latin domina, mistress. 

*I think this is the cocoa damselfish, so called because the bit that's blue in this photograph is sometimes brown.


No comments:

Post a Comment