Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thesaurus Thursday: KIBBLE

Happy Thursday!

I picked out all my words for the week last Saturday when I started the themed days. I should have written down the chain of words that led me to pick the word kibble for today. I'm not sure if it was a completely random selection from the actual thesaurus or if researching another possible word led me to it.

Either way, I decided it was perfect, because I had wondered off and on how the stuff I feed my dogs had acquired its name. And now I know.

The older form of kibble that dates back to the 18th century is a verb that means to grind or break something down into bits. The exact etymology is not known, according to Collins and the other online dictionaries I checked, but the word comes out of the mining areas of England.

The noun form of kibble describes the bits left from the process of kibbling. Obviously, dry pet food acquired the name because of the similarities to kibble formed of rocks or earth.

Now I am left with a new question--other words with a similar construction to kibble include dribble, quibble, and nibble, all of which also contain suggestions of something small and possibly insignificant. I'm wondering if there is something about the -ibble construction that has that meaning or if it is all a big coincidence. Still researching this question!

Not much to say about kibble in terms of Scrabble, except that it's a good word to have in your pocket as it would allow you to play a 5-point letter and two 4-point letters. Kibbles, kibbled, and kibbling are also playable words.

While we are on the subject of -ibble words, my poking around for similar words gave me two I hadn't been familiar with before: fribble and dibble.

Fribble means something unimportant and maybe a little silly -- probably with the same root somewhere as words like frivolous and frippery. A dibble is a hand tool used in farming or gardening that makes holes for planting seeds. I think both still contain implications of smallness, but I may be stretching it.

I have another project I'm going to be working on all day tomorrow, so there won't be an entry here. I will make sure I do an extra one over the weekend to stay caught up!

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