This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Thursday, 8 February 2018

A final ambition: a rant.

You've got to eat a peck of dirt before you die, people say, happily, as they gobble up a dropped slice of cake, or suck the fluff off a piece of toffee that's been accidentally dribbled onto a jumper.

Got to eat a peck of dirt before you die? 

But a peck can be any amount from a wren's beakful:

File:Variegated Fairy-wren male.jpg
variegated Fairy Wren, photo by Glen Fergus

to the 9.09 litres of the (obsolete) UK measurement (it's slightly smaller in the US).

And in any case, why on earth should dying be any sort of an ambition?

Word To Use Today: peck. The measurement word turned up in England in the 1200s but no one knows from where. The bird sort of peck turned up in the 1300s and no one's sure about that, either, but the Middle Low German pekken means to jab with the beak, so that's probably some relation.

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