"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


Fettle is an obsolete word that meant condition, shape or order. Nowadays it is heard only in the expressions 'fine fettle' or 'good fettle'. These are usually used of an elderly person or piece of aging machinery; the implication being that it is in good shape or working order for its age.


  1. The verb to fettle is, however, in common use today in, possibly amongst others, the pottery industry. The act of fettling is removing the seam lines from an item where the mould edges join and allow some leakage. A fine fettle in that context is where the fettling is done so well that the seam is invisible or nearly so.

  2. I to collect phrases and words, usually on old bits of paper and then I write them into a beautiful book...

    I try and incorporate them into my writing.

    I think its called inspiration!


  3. Thanks GB - you're obviously in fine fettle this morning. Hope you don't come apart at the seams!