Thursday 27 October 2011

Twinters, Bidents and Conundrum-Makers

A twinter is a two-year-old cow. It's a dialect term that is a shortening of two-winters. A two-year-old sheep, on the other hand, is called a bident. A bident is one short of a trident, which is three-toothed fork. The idea is that after two years a sheep, apparently, has two rows of teeth and is therefore ready to be sacrificed. This causes me concern as today is, in a way, my second birthday. I am a twinter and bident.

Inky Fool is two years old today. The earth has completed its weary journey around the sun twice since first I posted on the subject of branding. And just to emphasise the pointlessness of it all, the planet is now back where it started.

Inky Fool, though, is not. Inky Fool has gained many lovely readers, such as you*. Moreover, Inky Fool has a book - The Etymologicon - that will be coming out in a week's time and is already available on Kindle.

And as it is my blog-birthday, I shall simply quote the following for no reason other than the fact that I like it. It's from Dialogues of Dead (1699) by William King.

Hesychius. Why so they are! But can there be more Wit than in an Etymology, of which you are full from all Languages?

Gouldman. Etymologies may indeed furnish Materials for Quiblers, Punsters, and Conundrum-Makers, but these sorts of Wit are as much out of use as hammer'd Money.

Finally, I should apologise. There was no post yesterday. I thought there was. I wrote one and I believed that I had clicked on PUBLISH POST. Mind you, I'll believe anything.

The birthday party

*Well, I assume you're lovely. Are you? Answers in the comments, please.


  1. madeline bassett27 October 2011 at 12:37

    Many happy returns, inkling. I hope there is champagne and birthday cake to celebrate.

  2. The Present Mrs Hill27 October 2011 at 13:24

    I am most definitely lovely - how clever of you to know!

  3. Many happy etc. I'm not all that lovely but will persevere in the attempt so to be.

  4. Thankyou for the compliment. I get so few these days, what with my bead being in a paper bag. :)

  5. ♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ˙·٠•٠·˙˙·٠•●HAPPY BIRTHDAY●•٠·˙˙·٠• •٠·♫ ♫ ♪

  6. Happy Anniversary Inky Old Chap! By coincidence I was just reading your first birthday post and noticed the date.
    May you continue for many anniversaries to come.

  7. I am not that lovely, but I am a reader, so I'll take half the compliment if you don't mind. Been enjoying your blog for quite a while now. Happy Anniversary.

  8. Happy birthday - 'two-tooth' is what Australians once used to refer to sheep-meat that was neither lamb nor mutton. Not seen or heard of it for decades.

  9. I think your information re origin of 'bident' is not quite right - its the number of incisor teeth, not the number of rows - perhaps you were thinking of sharks

    See 'About sheep' section here

  10. All the best, old boy, looking forward to your next appearance on Radio5Live...........

  11. Tiger Eyes, I bow to your greater ovine knowledge. I was working from the OED, but I expect that they, like me, only really know about a sheep's edible or wearable parts.

    StourbridgeRantBoy, I'm back on on Sunday night.

    All others, thank you for your birthday wishes.