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

Monday 15 October 2012

Spot the frippet: unguis.

Oh yes you can spot an unguis!

Yes, with no trouble at all. The chances are that you're carrying quite a lot of ungues round with you at the moment.

In fact rather doubt you ever put them down.

There are ungues to be seen in the trees, and ungues to be seen in the fields (and hearthrugs, holts, and holes are commonly inhabited by them too).

What is it? Well, an unguis is a nail - not an iron one, but the sort you probably carry at the ends of your fingers and toes:

 An unguis can also be a claw:

Photo by AnasiZ

 or a hoof:

Alice and pig baby

or it can be the part of the digit where the nail, claw or hoof grows.

As if that's not enough, the base of some petals are claw-shaped, and they're called ungues, too.

The word gives us the tempting though admittedly rather greasy adjective ungual.

There. I bet you've already seen several types of unguis today without even looking.

Spot the frippet: unguis. This word arrived in English in the 1700s. It's Latin for nail or claw.


  1. A very useful new word! Thanks so much. Not quite sure how I'd pronounce it but hey, that's a small price to pay for such knowledge.

  2. Good question! You say it UNgwiss, or UNgweez for the plural.


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