This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Nuts and Bolts: the largest possible capers.

This post isn't about the wildest leaps of dancers:

File:1953 Ballet Grand Pas - Jean-Paul Andreani au Foyer de la danse de l'Opera de Paris.jpg
Jean-Paul Andreani, photo by Christjeudi10  

No, the capers to which I refer are the buds of the Mediterranean bush Capparis spinoza, which we usually come across salted or pickled and used as a flavouring.

Illustration Capparis spinosa0.jpg
Illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé

The smaller the capers are the higher their quality is deemed to be, and so there needs to be a clear grading system.

So: do we have minuscule, minute, tiny, small, and medium?

No, the truth is much more lovely. We have non-pareil, surfines, capucines, capotes, fines, and grusas.

And just how gloriously bonkers is that?

Words To Use Today: one that describes a caper. Non-pareil means without equal; surfines means very fine; capucines and capotes are coats or cloaks with hoods; fines means fine; and grusas means dashed in Swedish (though I doubt very much that's relevant as the rest of the words have basically ended up French). My guess is that it's something to do with the French gross, meaning, well, gross. Gruesa is Spanish for bulky.

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