This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday 16 May 2016

Spot the Frippet: razoo.

What have the Antipodes ever done for us? 

Well, loads. For a start, they've given us the excellent word razoo.

My Collins Dictionary defines a razoo as an imaginary coin (which would of course be impossible to spot) but a razoo isn't really imaginary.

A razoo is a piece of money of the smallest possible worth: that's not worth a brass razoo. I lost every last razoo.

How big is a razoo?

Well, in Britain the smallest coin that's legal tender is the penny, but in Uzbekistan they have a Tiyin. You get about three thousand of them to the British penny (or about two thousand of them to a US cent).

I hope the razoo you spot today is not your last razoo - and also that you don't find yourself in a queue behind a person paying for his train fare entirely in Tiyins.

Spot the Frippet: razoo. This word appeared during the First World War. It might be something to do with the French coin called the sou, it might be something to do with the Maori word rahu, or it might be something to do with the American razoo, which is a shortened term for raspberry (the rude kind).

No comments:

Post a Comment

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