Words for the Week


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. And for a little more interest, I’m going through the alphabet! So this week’s words begin with ‘F’. 

Friscajoly (adjective): a refrain in jovial songs that has no meaning.

This word is apparently derived from ‘frisco’: a brisk leap or other movement made while dancing. A friscajoly seems to appear frequently in traditional and folk songs – of which I have plenty in my playlists! And it almost sounds like a refrain in its own right.

Fandandering (adjective): Northumberland. Idle, good-for-nothing.

My second ‘F’ word is also very pleasing to say. There’s a hint in there of ‘dandy’ – a foppish young gentleman, useless in any practical sense to society – which makes a degree of sense. But this is dandy without – for me, anyway – the class association. And it also sounds a little bit like ‘fandango’, which is fun.

Fernweh (noun): German. The longing, or need, to be far away – anywhere else.

I think this is another one that we’ve all felt. In desperation, in impatience, in boredom… We’ve all felt the need to get away, away to anywhere, whether to escape something old or to find something new. I’d like to go to a semi-mythical cottage just outside a country village, with a cat that won’t bring me dead things (or, worse, half-alive things), living off my royalties as a bestselling author.

I’d better get to writing then, hadn’t I?

Feetings (noun): Suffolk. Footprints of creatures as they appear in the snow.

Like, obviously there should be a word for this. You could argue that its just ‘footprints’ – but ‘feetings’ is way better. It’s cute, its specific, and it somehow has the right sound, of dainty little wild feet crunch-crunching gently through the snow under cover of darkness.

Frail (noun): Banffshire. Leaf skeleton.

I mean, that’s exactly what it is!! This is one of my favourite words, because it’s literally like someone picked one up, said to a friend, ‘what do you reckon this is, then?’ And their mate shrugged and went, ‘dunno, but it looks kind of frail, though. Put it down.’ AND THUS a word was born. I love that an adjective described a thing perfectly, and so it became a noun.

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; The Greeks Had A Word For It by Andrew Taylor; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.

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