This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 2 March 2020

Spot The Frippet: lucifer.

Lucifer is the angel who started a rebellion against God. I don't know where he is now, or even if he's still around, but it's interesting that lucifer as a word is connected with light because usually evil is all to do with darkness.

Gustave Doré: Lucifer's fall from Heaven

Entertainingly, there have been a couple of bishops called Lucifer (they were bishops of Cagliari and Siena) and also, more fittingly, there was once a Hendrick Lucifer, a man so vile he was said to raise eyebrows even among his fellow pirates.

If you don't have any fallen angels lurking about the place then lucifer is also the sort of match you strike to make a light (especially the old-fashioned kind which smell of sulphur) and a name for the planet Venus when it rises (though not when it sets).

Lucifer is also the name for a couple of rather unshowy, though light-emitting prawns:

Lucifer typus Rhabdosoma armatum.JPG
drawing of a Lucifer prawn, Rhabdosoma armatum, by Jean-Joseph Zéphirin Gerbe

(Luciferin, by the way, is the stuff that makes fireflies fiery and glow-worms glow.)

If all these things seem hard to spot, well then something luciferous is something which gives out light.

No need for a light-bulb moment to spot one of those.

Spot the Frippet: lucifer. This word is Old English, from the Latin lūcifer, light-bearer, from lūx. light, and ferre, to carry.

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