This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Monday, 4 October 2021

Spot the Frippet: a spear.

 Luckily, most of us no longer need to keep a spear in the umbrella rack by the front door for fear of attack:

illustration by Raphael

but there are other types of spear about.

Chewing gum often contains spearmint:

photo by Simon Eugster 

and we all have to keep a sharp eye out for spear-phishing, where someone tries to con you out of money by pretending to be someone you know.

Meet someone from your dad's side of the family? That's the spear side. 

There are lots of plants called spear-something, such as spear-grass and spearwort, and any small, tender part of a plant can be called a spear, especially if it's broccoli or asparagus.

A spear-fish is also sometimes called a marlin: 

photo by US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

not many of us will be coming across one of those, but it does, strangely enough, bring us back neatly to the roots of the word.

Spot the Frippet: spear. The broccoli word is different from the others, and is probably a variant of the word spire. The other words come from the Old English spere. The Greek sparos meant gilthead, which, like a marlin, is a kind of fish:

illustration by Werner

No comments:

Post a Comment

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