Word for the Day

During his talk a few days ago, Richard Ford used the word fricative.  I don’t think I’d ever heard it before, but, from the sound of it, I felt that I knew straightaway what it meant.  It had to be something to do with the percussive sounds of consonants blown through with air, if the principles of onomatopoeia are worth anything.

Finally, yesterday I got round to looking it up in the dictionary, my parents’ well battered volume of the Oxford English, which does sterling service in support of checking spelling for their weekly crossword marathons, and just assisted me in the writing of onomatopoeia when the spellchecker let me down so woefully!

So, here you are: fricative, adjective denoting a type of consonant made by the friction of breath in a narrow opening, producing a turbulent air flow; noun, a consonant made in this way e.g. f and the.

Richard Ford used the word in the context of describing how he constructed what, for him, were the right sentences.  He reads out his work to hear the sound of it, to know that the flow has the rhythm and cadence he wants, and so that the fricatives are doing their work harmoniously.

But with the dictionary open, it was hard to resist the other words on the page.  Fricative comes after fricassee (a dish of stewed or fried pieces of meat served in a thick white sauce), and before friction (the resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another)….. and my favourites: fribble (noun, informal, a frivolous or foolish person), and friar’s balsam (a solution containing benzoin in alcohol, used chiefly as an inhalant), and Freudian slip (an unintentional error regarded as revealing subconscious feelings).

Now, to try and write a paragraph containing all of them…… any suggestions?

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7 Comments

  1. Oh dear, I don’t know whether I’ve got them all, but here goes:

    Ever one to create friction, to describe Edwina as a fribble based on her recipe for fricassee and wanton administrations of friar’s balsam would be a Freudian slip.

    Reply
  2. Not going to try – YOU’re the clever one, YOU do it 🙂

    Reply
  3. sharpword

     /  October 28, 2012

    Wow Rowena!

    With my fractured froward frame filled with Freudian slip
    Inhaling the frier’s balm with friction and fribble
    no doubt to produce a fricassee of fricative sound,
    one might think me a windy sort.

    So said, I love this post it made me laugh thank you.

    Please check out my blogsite I’ve been here for a while but just started to interact with people recently. / Hubert

    Reply
    • That’s fantastic Hubert! Thank you. I’ll make my way over to check out your site as soon as I’m back on line properly.

      Reply
      • sharpword

         /  October 28, 2012

        Great to meet you if you like just scroll back a bit on my page as lately I have been posting some rather lengthy posts, but I have a lot of shorter ones, and a bunch of my poems as well 🙂

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