This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 7 August 2017

Spot the Frippet: flag.

Flags is rather hard to spot in England. I think it might be because of the deeply-engrained English fear of being thought a show-off.

There are very very seldom flags to be seen hanging indoors, here, even in Government offices. The Queen does fly her Royal Standard outside her current home:

File:Royal Standard of the United Kingdom.svg

 but then she's the Queen.

So where to find a flag? Occasionally you'll see a church that flies a flag from its tower (I don't know why). A modern town hall in a modern square may possibly have room for a couple of flag poles, though they'll probably be empty. An international tourist shop is likely to be smothered in Union Flags:

File:The Union Jack Flag MOD 45153521.jpg

But then most places don't have shops catering for international tourists.

Luckily, there are other, easier sorts of flags. A button on a computer screen to turn on or off a feature is a flag; so is the fringe under a dog's tail:

File:Irish Setter in Tallinn 2.JPG
Irish setter, photo by  Томасина

 or the entire tail of a deer:

Black-tailed deer (obviously). Photo by Bardbom 

 Some people use the word flag to mean bookmark, and in Australia and New Zealand a taxi that has a for-hire sign that sticks up is displaying its flag. A flag officer is a very senior naval officer who's entitled to fly his own personal flag.

Then we have the flower type of flags:

File:Iris pseudacorus LC0338.jpg
photo by Jörg Hempel

and the floor-covering type of flags:

File:Weedy flagstone deck 01.JPG
photo by User:SB_Johnny

Flags are also the long feathers on the leg of a hawk or falcon:

File:Galapagos hawk.jpg
Galapagos hawk, photo by Thomas O'Neil, Tgo2002 

I must say this is all a great relief to me, because personally I'm so English I'm embarrassed even to notice a flag of any nation at all. 

It seems a bit like, you know, showing off.

Spot the Frippet: flag. No one knows where the emblem-on-a-cloth word comes from. The flower word probably comes from Scandinavia, and the floor-stone word originally meant a piece of turf and comes from the Old Norse flaga, a slab.

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