Monday, 25 August 2008


Drop everything! I have just discovered that clue originally meant "a ball of yarn". Thread, the very stuff that Ariadne told Theseus to dangle after him through the labyrinth. Wow, gosh, and gee-whizzelly-wee! And this, all the better because yarn is also a synonym for story. There were those who thought I shouldn't bother getting out of bed this morning, but you shewed them, Poxford English Dictionary, oh yes you did.


Ampersand Duck said...

Wow, I'm so glad I got out of bed this morning. That's a good thing to think about on my treadly.

Anonymous said...

AND... you discovered the first spelling mistake in the Poxford. It should have been clew
clew 1 (kloo)
1. A ball of yarn or thread.
2. Greek Mythology The ball of thread used by Theseus to find his way out of the labyrinth
I always thought those Pommy university types were a bit clueless.

vague said...

This is the best news!

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Anon, lest you think less of the Poxford, here's what it says by way of etymology:

CLUE: A later spelling of CLEW, q.v. Used in all the surviving senses, but especially in the fig. In ME. -ew was the normal form even for words from French in -ue, -eu, as blew, imbew, crew, dew, sew, glew; when these were in later times altered to -ue, this spelling was extended to various native words (from OE. -iw, -eow, -eaw) as hue, spue, rue (v.), true, and clue.

So it's not the dictionree wot got it wrong, but the spelling reformists "in later times".