Tag Archives: Language

TAE Word for the Day: My man ain’t no fanfaron!


Nothing wrong with being a fan or aficionado. But you really don’t want to be a fanfaron. Or be a fan of a fanfaron.

FANFARON: a boaster or a braggart. From the French fanfaron, from the Spanish fanfarron, perhaps from Arabic farfar (talkative), of expressive origin. The words fanfaronade and fanfare have the same origin. Earliest use in English language traced back to 1622.

Fortunately, Richard is many things, but one thing he isn’t is a fanfaron.   Put it down to typical English self-effacement, to a very proper upbringing by John and Margaret, to something innate–Rich is not a lad to go around tooting his own horn. Instead, there is a sort of quiet confidence in his stillness. He’s the thoughtful, grown-up fellow who doesn’t feel the need to try to impress us.

And there’s that rather adorable–if occasionally maddening–tendency to downplay his talents and abilities.   I wouldn’t take a hundred boastful egocentric Kanye West types for one man who’s the real thing. Richard Armitage: my man ain’t no fanfaron! And I love him all the more for it.





Mr. A and his smilerynkers; or crow’s feet go international


Who knew all the fascinating things you could learn about crow’s feet? Here are the comments left by some readers at the A.Word.a.Day site which appeared in the weekly roundup post.  I have to say I really like the Danes’ take on the subject.

And here is Mr. A showing off his smilerynkers.

Richard shows off his smiling wrinkles for us in this screencap from the Spooks 7 DVD extras. Courtesy of RichardArmitageNet

Subject: crow’s feet  Def: Wrinkles in the skin around the outer corners of the eyes.

In Italian it corresponds to “zampe di gallina” = “hen’s feet”.

Emanuela Ughi, Perugia, Italy

Ah! Languages. I’m a Francophone. When I take French leave most of your readers take the equivalent English leave (in French). Oddly enough we often resort to different animals to describe the same phenomenon. In today’s case (aging showing at the outer edge of our eyes), we refer to geese as in “goose’s feet” instead of your crow. Seems to me that they leave quite a different footprint. I’ll take your crow for my (not golden) goose.

Claude Généreux, Montreal, Canada

Curiously, in Brazil “chicken’s feet” has the same meaning.

Heber R. Da Cruz, Maceió, Brazil

The Danish term for crow’s feet is somewhat more gentle and puts a more positive spin on it. The term is smilerynker, literally smiling wrinkles. You get them from a long life, where you have lived and laughed.

Crow’s feet, on the other hand, kragetæer, literally crow’s toes, is handwriting like mine that is uneven and hard to decipher and looks like the tracks left in the snow by birds hopping about.

Henrik Nielsen, Indianapolis, Indiana
Richard channeling his Cary Grant and showing off those smiling wrinkles at the 2010 BAFTAs. Courtesy of RANet

In my language – Swedish – this expression is used for handwriting that is almost illegible, a child’s (or a doctor’s).

Agneta Sandelin, Stockholm, Sweden
In English, that sort of handwriting is called “chicken scratch”. -Carolanne Reynolds

Years ago when our granddaughter, Samantha, was about four years old, she sat on my wife’s lap and was gently rubbing my wife’s face, around her eyes and accompanying crow’s feet. Samantha lovingly said, “Grandma, I love your pleats.”

Marvin Berkson

As an orthopedic surgeon, I cannot let pass this opportunity to mention, for the record, the bird part, dear to my specialty. It’s the pes anserinus, or goose’s foot. Located just below the knee, this structure represents the confluence of three tendons, likened to the three-toed configuration of a goose foot. A nearby bursa (sac) can become inflamed causing the painful pes anserine bursitis.

Lawrence Schweitzer, MD, Danbury, Connecticut

A crow’s foot is also the mark  a carpenter uses to mark his measuring tape, you start the mark at the correct measurement on the tape and angle it slightly to the left and a second mark angles slightly to the right. Looks like a crow’s foot.

Joe Dorrance, Parker, Colorado

Crow’s feet (plural of crow’s foot) is also a term in the American English tradesman’s vernacular for an open-end socket wrench attachment (images) that can get the job done in tight work areas where a regular wrench or socket just won’t do!

Joe DiFernando, Norfolk, Virginia

Within the conventions of comic book lettering, crow’s feet describes the marks used to indicate a human sound that accompanies the in-taking or expelling of air. Also called breath marks, they are usually three small dashes stacked vertically (and at slight angles) on each side of the sound that the character is making (such as a whew, gasp!, cough, sputter). Here’s a panelfrom the “Silk Spectre” comic book showing the use of crow’s feet in a dialog balloon.

Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California

Now, Mr. A hasn’t yet lived a long life, but I think there has been plenty of laughter and, I hope, lots of love in his 41 years. Here’s hoping there is lots more to come!

Richard as John Porter after an amusing encounter with Danni in Strike Back. Screencap courtesy of RANet

Armitage’s Armamentarium!: TAE Word for the Day


Surely this word was made for our TDHBEW.

armamentarium (noun):  a fruitful source of devices or materials available for or used for an undertaking; the aggregate of equipment, methods and techniques available to one for carrying out one’s duties.

Mr. Armitage uses his Method acting techniques, journaling, intelligence and intuition, his mobile features and command of his physicality, along with an amazing vocal instrument, to bring his characters to life, giving them depth and breadth and believability. He has a powerful armamentarium at his disposal to craft a great performance.

Likewise, characters such as Lucas North and Sgt. John Porter have their armamentariums of gadgets, tools and weapons to aid them on their missions.

Armamentarium is from the Latin root armament, referring to equipment used by a military unit. The suffix -arium denotes a location or receptacle.

Bravo for Armitage’s Armamentarium and long may it bring us enjoyment!



It would appear John Porter has packed a potent portion of his armamentarium for his mission.

Nottie’s tin god: TAE Word for the Day


tin god: (noun) (1) A pompous, self-important person. (2) A person who considers himself or herself infallible and tries to dictate standards of behavior or belief.

This term refers to the fact that tin as a base metal compared with other, more precious metals. In other words, petty or of little value. First documented use was before 1880.

Could one describe a certain beady-eyed, treacherous troll as a little tin god? A clue–yes!

Thank heavens we have Guy–who is the pure platinum sex god of Nottingham!!! He’s OUR baddie. 😉

Who are some other tin gods you might have noticed in RA’s productions?

Richard’s screed: TAE Word for the Day


Is John Mulligan planning to have a screed with Ellie so he can have his wicked way with her?

Ricky is good with his hands, as is his Creator, Mr. Armitage, who has been known to perform DIY projects and home improvement to help support him as a struggling actor. RA just might have encountered a screed or two along the way.


Rebel (and murder suspect) Ricky Deeming just might make a diatribe, or should we say screed against the establishment

Screed is a word with multiple meanings just as Richard is an actor able to play many emotions. How can we use Mr. Armitage and his charaRActers to illustrate our word for the day?

Screed (noun): (1) A long discourse or essay; a diatribe. (2) an informal letter, account or other piece of writing.
(3) Building trades. (A) Can refer to a strip of plaster or wood applied to a surface to be plastered to serve as a guide for making a true surface. (B) A wooden strip serving as a guide for making a true level surface on a concrete pavement and the like. (C) A board or metal strip dragged across the surface of freshly poured concrete to give it its proper level.
British Dialect: a fragment or shred as of cloth.
Scot: (A) A tear or rip, especially in cloth. (B) A drinking bout.