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parts of the body that aren’t always there

January 18, 2016

There are at least two words in English for parts of the body that aren’t always there: I mean of course the lap and the fist. These only spring into existence, as it were, when the body is in certain positions. Actually when my daughter Miranda was a very little girl she made up another one: the darbist, which is a name for the wrist when it is bent. But it never caught on outside our family.

I wonder whether other languages have words for these or other body-parts that come and go? I do know that the French have a word for fist – le poing – but they don’t have a specific word for lap. In French if you sit on someone’s lap you sit on their genoux (knees), which is not exactly the same.

I have more to say on the subject of knees, but that can be another post for another day.

From → Uncategorized

  1. pantherle permalink

    Oh yes, the German language does have words for fist = Faust, lap = Schoß (but mostly it’s a “Schoß” for letting someone sit on). And there is the “Grübchen” = the little mold in your cheeks when some people smile 🙂 Very cute thoughts – thank you!

  2. Similarly Dutch has “vuist” and “schoot”. There is also “hurken” which is what you squat on. Somewhat more obscure are “lurven” which is something you can grab, probably they are always there, but I’ve never been able to figure out where exactly they are located.

  3. Luc permalink

    “Lurven” does not exist as a real part of the body. It’s only used in “Grabbing him by the tail (lurven)”; him being a thief or someone who ran away.

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