Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Fettling

My dictionary doesn't think fettling is a word. It's wrong.

Gary spends quite a bit of time fettling. Our friends Geoff and Edna, who often indulge in a spot of fettling, tell me it's the present participle of the verb fettle. All three of them use it to describe sorting out, tidying up and tiddlying off.

Fettle is in my dictionary. It means condition or trim - as in 'he felt in fine fettle'. It can also be what you do to tidy metal castings or pieces of pottery before firing them.

Fettler is also in my dictionary. A fettler is a person who fettles. You'd think that'd make them really spruce wouldn't you? Apparently it's most commonly used for railway workers.

I can't say for certain this pot was ever fettled, but my Black Pearl chili growing in it is in fine fettle, don't you think?

Quite a bit of fettling of my stories is needed before I'm ready to submit them to magazines or enter them in competitions. I think it's worth the effort.

26 comments:

Wendy's Writing said...

I'm more interested in the term 'Tiddlying off', Patsy, which I suspect your dictionary might reject as well!

Linda G. said...

I've heard of being in fine fettle, but I've never thought of "fettling" something. I like it!

cheyenne jones said...

I occasionally Fettle about! Its a good term, one can fettle to one`s heart is content, and a casual observer wouldnt be able to discern the difference between that and proper work! I could be in good Fettle, or in , as you say, Fine Fettle. Or! "I`m gonna Fettle him! To give some one a "damn good thrashing!"( a twenties voice needed for that phrase!) Ah yes, such words, " A tel`t `im, tha`s not lookin` in`t good fettle the no`s. "

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think fettling is a word! (Even though Spell Check just tried to convince me otherwise.)

Deborah Walker said...

Fettling is a fine work for those final editing drafts.

Old Kitty said...

Your chilli plant is totally fettling!!! Yay! :-) Take care
x

Patsy said...

I suspect you're right, Wendy. Tiddlying off, in writing terms, is that final look through to make sure you haven't got any missing punctuation, extra spaces etc.

Patsy said...

It's not a bad way to spend your time, Linda.

Patsy said...

That's the beauty of fettling, Cheyenne - it looks quite industrious. In some cases it is, though generally not when I'm doing it.

Patsy said...

Spell check seems to be on a mission to reduce, and standardise, our vocabulary, Alex. Don't let it!

Patsy said...

It certainly is, Deborah.

Patsy said...

So will I be once I've eaten the fruit, Kitty.

Leandra Wallace said...

What a cute little plant. I've been debating w/getting a plant for my office, but I know I'll just end up killing it. Fake for me! And fettling is a fun word. Tell your dictionary to get over itself. ;)

lizy-expat-writer said...

I think you must pick your words with a pin! That couple in your previous post - he looks thin rather than slim to me - happy, yes, but too thin.

Jacula said...

Fettling is most definitely a word, as is another favourite of mine - 'furkling' (to furkle (verb): 1) to rummage around; to search. 2) to muck about. Women furkle in their handbags all the time to find a tissue/their ringing mobile 'phone/a pen etc.

Anonymous said...

Love the word Patsy although I had never heard of it before your post. That's what we love most about your blog. You teach while you write enjoyable posts so we're learning!! It took me forty years to learn that a word I had used my whole life was in fact not a word at all. "FIXING" or said in the south, FIXIN, to me was as good a word as any. I'm fixin to start some dinner. I'm fixin to mow the lawn. Coarse it took Inion teaching her mama that fixin was a southern slang. So now, I have to write, I'm about to or I'm getting ready... I even offered to write the g in after the n and was still told that it didn't qualify as proper English. Oh the pain of losing something so dear to my heart as FIXIN! LOL, Love the post as usual Patsy and thanks for the competition info. Sharing this now!

Patsy said...

I think I need a dictionary with a few blank pages so I can add words, Leandra.

Patsy said...

My selection method is even more random than that, Lizzie. Generally it's words I've overheard or read somewhere and either didn't know, or just liked the sound of.

Patsy said...

I do a fair bit of furkling, Jacula - didn't know that was what it was called though.

Patsy said...

Sorry, I agree that isn't proper English - you could use it in dialogue though.

Glad you're enjoying the blog.

Meradeth Houston said...

Awesome word! I've never heard it before, but I do wish someone would get their fettle on and clean my kitchen :)

cheyenne jones said...

Me neither.

Jacula said...

Glad to be informative. At least you'll know what you're doing now, Patsy. :)

Patsy said...

Kettle fettler required at Meradeth's?

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

What an interesting word. I love hearing ones I've never heard before. :)

Patsy said...

I'll try to find you some more, Rachel.