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Monday 8 August 2011

Spot the frippet: velvet.

Soft, cushiony, and just faintly sinister: velvet.

Apart from the luxurious and lustrously pelted fabric, velvet is the skin which covers and feeds antlers while they're growing (velvet antler is made from antlers that have been harvested before they've got bony. It's ground up to make tea and is used in Chinese medicine to try to cure all sorts of unlikely things).

Velveting is the lovely expression which describes a cat folding its claws back into its paws.

Then we have the velvet scoter and the velvet shank, a sea duck and a fungus, respectively.

An iron hand in a velvet glove is a gentle reminder of the wielder's power.

Black velvet is, though, one to be avoided if at all possible. It's a mixture of stout and champagne in equal proportions. And, surely, a great waste of both.

Spot the frippet: velvet. This word comes to us from the Old French veluotte, from the Latin villus, which means shaggy hair.

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