foolery, n.

foolery, n. 3. fools as a class.

Foolery! This is where I ended up when the word history of fond took me back to foolish and then to fools (the good and the true). And then to the realisation that there is a whole swathe of foolery to consider.

Does it come from Latin’s follis (windbag, empty headed person) in the idiot sense?
Or folles (“puffed cheeks” of the buffoon) for shades of jester?
Or is the question moot because folles, here, is a secondary meaning of the plural of follis?

And don’t get me started on moot. Yet.

æsc, n. æ

æsc, n. æ

Æ is one of my favourite graphemes. We all have our favourites right?
My partiality for æ is partly for its aesthetic form (especially in lowercase) but mostly for its modern name, ash.
Why ash? When æ was incorporated into the Old English Latin alphabet, the letter was called æsc (ash tree) after the Anglo-Saxon futhorc rune it transliterated:

Originally a short vowel between ‘a’ and ‘e’ = the ‘a’ in fan, æ was replaced by ‘e’ or ‘ee’ in the 13th century. Three centuries later it was reintroduced into English, for words taken from Latin with the diphthong ae, and Greek’s ai.
It has the full status of a letter in some alphabets including Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese. Lucky languages that they are, ae?


welcome-home-husband-however-drunk-you-be, n.

welcome home hubby
welcome-home-husband-however-drunk-you-be, n. a houseleek (more fully, common houseleek).

Welcome-home-husband-no matter-how-drunk-you-be is the kind of (apparently) common plant name that not only invites further research but insists on it. Continue reading “welcome-home-husband-however-drunk-you-be, n.”

mephistophelian, adj.


Usually I like dogear-free pages but today I’m adjusting that rule. This secondhand “Concise Macquarie Dictionary” from 1982 has just a single folded down page in its entire body. And it is no dainty fold.

On closer examination it doesn’t mark just the page, it also directs readers’ attention to a particular word: Continue reading “mephistophelian, adj.”

elevenses, n.

elevenses, n. 1. a short break for refreshments, usually with tea or coffee, taken around 11 am.   2. the refreshments eaten then

Words and food combined in the most delicious way; this is the wonderful gift that made my week. A gift that also got me curious about the etymology behind it.

Not to be confused with second breakfast — though it often is — elevenses first appears in 1887 Continue reading “elevenses, n.”

~ce17 series


The fourth Found Words collection presents forty-four selected word columns from my preferred broken old dictionary of choice; the Concise English Dictionary. These columns are protected in slightly larger sleeves (22.5cm x 6.5cm) than our previous bookmarks, and paired with their identifying swing tag.
The larger sleeves allow the header words that uniquely name each bookmark, to remain attached to its word column rather than trimmed off and tucked inside its sleeve.
Continue reading “~ce17 series”