This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 4 September 2020

Word To Use Today: fecula.

 I love the way words accumulate meanings. They're rolling stones but as they go along they actually do gather moss, to the extent that sometimes when you come across one it's like being greeted by a man who hasn't shaved since before lock-down, and you're left wondering who he is.

The word fecula started off in Roman times describing the crust you sometimes get on the bottom of a very old, very expensive, bottle of wine. 

From there - and here the rolling stone must have hit something which made it divert unexpectedly, though what it was I do not know, perhaps a tortoise, possibly the foot of some reflective poet - it came to mean the kind of starch you can get from crushing plants such as potatoes.

And from there, bafflingly, it took another swerve, possibly caused by an impact with the cauldron of some newt-searching witch, and it came to mean poo, and particularly insect poo.

As I say, I'm not sure how it happened, but it's put me right off paying several hundred pounds for a bottle of wine, I can tell you. 

Word To Use Today: fecula. This word is Latin, and comes from faex, which means sediment.

No comments:

Post a comment

All comments are very welcome, but please make them suitable for The Word Den's family audience.