This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 16 November 2012

Word To Use Today: tiller.

And all I ask is a tall ship
And a star to steer her by.

Isn't that wonderful? I know very well that really I have not the faintest desire to go anywhere in a tall ship, but John Masefield's  poem still makes me shiver with yearning.

(And, no, the preposition at the end of his sentence doesn't matter in the slightest. Only poor sad bitter people could possibly object. So there.)

But how are we going to steer our tall ship? Well, a huge tall ship will have a wheel, but anything else is quite likely to have a tiller.

That's Hubert Parry (the composer who wrote the tunes to Jerusalem and Dear Lord and Father of Mankind) at the tiller.

You'll also need a tiller:

Tiller by JicJac -

if you need to, well, till something, that is, break the soil up so you can plant seeds. And, rather neatly, what you'll be tilling may well be tillers, which are shoots which come up from the base of grass stems.

Finally, to bring us to the weekend in a cheerful mood, here are the Tiller Girls:

They were a dance troupe formed by John Tiller in Manchester, England, in 1890 who were famous for their linked-arms, high-kicking routines.

Do you know, I think that perhaps we should all celebrate the end of the week in high-kicking Tiller Girl style.

Word To Use Today: tiller. The steering tiller comes from the Anglo-French teiler, which is the beam of a loom, from the Latin la, which is a web.

The grass tiller comes from the Old English telgor, which means twig.

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