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Fritter

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Fritter

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:52 pm

• fritter •


Pronunciation: fri-dêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, Noun

Meaning: 1. (Verb) Waste (time), piddle, loaf. 2. (Noun) A small piece, fragment, or shred. 3. (Noun) A lump of fried batter containing fruit, vegetables, or meat.

Notes: Today is another two-for-one day at alphaDictionary for fritter is actually two words that coincidentally resemble each other (see Word History). We may eat fritters or fritter away the day doing little or nothing. Someone who fritters is a fritterer. Fritter in the second sense above most often occurs in the plural: "Giselle's vase fell and broke into fritters."

In Play: Since these two words are not related but are only accidental doppelgangers, it is easy to use both in the same sentence: "Fred, don't fritter away the whole morning eating those corn fritters!" We can just as easily team it up with yesterday's Good Word: "Phil Anders frittered his life away with one floozy after another."

Word History: The Latin noun fractura "break, crack" came to be fraiture in Old French, then freture, at which point English borrowed the word and converted it to fritter. French then replaced its word with the Latin original, fracture, which means the same in French and English today. English, though, acquired two words from the deal: fritters "small fragments broken off or up" and fracture. This noun, fritters, was then verbalized in the sense of "to whittle", a process that creates wood fritters and was once a popular way of wasting time. The culinary noun fritter is a reduction of French friture "fried food", based on frit "fried", as in pommes frites "French fries". French inherited frit from frictus "fried", the past participle of Latin frigere "to fry". Apparently the suffix -ura was added to this root somewhere between Classical Latin and Old French without leaving written evidence.
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Re: Fritter

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:35 am

Pommes frites: remember during the Gulf War when people
tried to change them to "freedom fries"?
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Re: Fritter

Postby gailr » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:40 pm

Yes; that ^ was silly for several reasons. Stephen Colbert jokingly renamed English muffins "Liberty Toast" earlier this month in response to UK decisions.

Giselle's vase fell and broke into fritters.

That's a new usage to me. I think I'll skip using it around here. :wink:
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Re: Fritter

Postby misterdoe » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:22 pm

Now I'm hungry for an apple fritter but, since I don't have any apples or flour at the moment, I guess I'll have to hoof it over to Dunkin Donuts :)
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Re: Fritter

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:34 pm

gailr wrote:Yes; that ^ was silly for several reasons. Stephen Colbert jokingly renamed English muffins "Liberty Toast" earlier this month in response to UK decisions.

Giselle's vase fell and broke into fritters.

That's a new usage to me. I think I'll skip using it around here. :wink:




I've never heard that either gailr. I've heard more often:
"broke into smithereens", which is a curiosity itself.
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Re: Fritter

Postby Slava » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:50 pm

Smithereens! I'd pretty much forgotten that one, though I shouldn't have. I guess my brain has been shattered to smithereens lately. The word has been across our Agora in the past: http://www.alphadictionary.com/bb/viewt ... ?f=1&t=274

Thanks for reminding me.
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Re: Fritter

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:31 pm

Pommes frites means fried apples in French. The French haven't bothered to give a name to potatoes. They call them pommes de terre which means something like dirty apples. I joke, it means apples from the ground. Say "French fries" in Montreal and you get 30 days in jail where you will have to fritter the hours away. That is an exaggeration. It really is, under certain circumstances, against the law to use non-French words in public.
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Re: Fritter

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:18 am

Slava wrote:Smithereens! I'd pretty much forgotten that one, though I shouldn't have. I guess my brain has been shattered to smithereens lately. The word has been across our Agora in the past: http://www.alphadictionary.com/bb/viewt ... ?f=1&t=274

Thanks for reminding me.




Makes perfect sense, I never connected it to a blacksmith.
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Re: Fritter and frit -- broken glass, but fried, not friable

Postby DavidLJ » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:01 am

I found this one interesting because it taught me a bit about, and led me to learn a bit more about "frit," the packaging material proposed for the long term storage of nuclear waste.

Nuclear medicine and nuclear power generation necessarily leave wastes, some of which are no more harmful than your average cement block, some of which are the stuff of science-fictionish nightmares. The only reason your local cancer treatment hospital is not guarded by a company of Marines is that turning ver-ree dangerous metals into terror weapons is, so far, beyond the technical capabilities of the terrorists.

Given that both Al-Quaeda and the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo attract numbers of technically trained moral perverts, looking after these dangerous materials is a major social concern.

Enter frit.

The essential idea is that we take whatever nasty stuff we have to store for hundreds or for tens of thousands of years, we mix it up with broken glass and melt the whole mess down into slugs to be buried somewhere safe, e.g Yucca Mountain, er, once Harry Reid passes from the scene.

The broken glass is the frit, but although it may look like, and indeed be, fritters of glass, it is melted, and again to be molten, hence etymologically from the fried side of the fri family.

-dlj.
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Re: Fritter

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:01 am

8)
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Re: Fritter

Postby gailr » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:54 pm

^^ Is that how they made the "X-Ray Glasses" advertised in old magazines? 8)
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Re: Frittering away

Postby DavidLJ » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:56 pm

I was nagged with uncertainty after I posted above, but am relieved to find that what I wrote seems to be correct. Here are some of the related entries from the http://www.etymonline.com, a site which I trust more than thefreedictionary.com, which has some obvious errors in it:

friable (adj.) Look up friable at Dictionary.com
1560s, from Middle French friable and directly from Latin friabilis "easily crumbled or broken," from friare "rub away, crumble into small pieces," related to fricare "to rub" (see friction). Related: Friability.

fritter (n.) Look up fritter at Dictionary.com
"fried batter," late 14c., from Old French friture "fritter, pancake, something fried" (12c.), from Late Latin frictura "a frying," from frigere "to roast, fry" (see fry (v.)).

fritter (v.) Look up fritter at Dictionary.com
"whittle away," 1728, from fritters "fragment or shred," possibly from a noun sense, but this is not recorded as early as the verb; perhaps an alteration of 16c. fitters "fragments or pieces," perhaps ultimately from Old French fraiture "a breaking," from Latin fractura. Or perhaps from a Germanic source (cf. Middle High German vetze "clothes, rags").

frit (n.) Look up frit at Dictionary.com
"material for glass-making," 1660s, from Italian fritta, fem. past participle of friggere "to fry," from Latin frigere "to roast, poach, fry" (see fry (v.)).

If anybody here reads Sanskrit, which I am just starting out on, again, for the third or fourth time in my life, I'd love to hear from you, for advice, and perhaps to trade notes. It's occasions like this when I wish I could find the common root behind all those German, French and Latins above.

-dlj.
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Re: Fritter

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:37 am

DavidLJ: How did friable get in the mix of this discussion? I must have missed it. Being from an agricultural background, I have always used friable as per your definition and never associated it with frying something.
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