Daily Archives: February 20, 2009


The cups run over… or, anyway, they overrun the word; three u‘s, because this word is all about u, u, u – specifically what u can use. It may be a usual use, but it’s use of the fruit of another, so don’t be tempted too much. If you hold your cup out more than three times, you may c it tipped over, and then you’re so – um – frustrated. Anyway, the word begins with us, because what’s mine is yours – but only to enjoy, not to use up! The mutuality of the arrangement is haptically iconized by the simultaneous velar and alveolar stopping at the end. And what’s the fruct? If it looks like fruit to you, you’re right: it’s from the Latin for the same. This word, before it was re-Latinized, was (in the 15th and 16th centuries) usufruit or even use fruit. Like when your neighbour’s tree hangs into your yard (over a fence, like an f hanging over an r) and you take the apples that fall from it. Does that sound like something that could lead to a legal dispute? Fair enough – this term is pure legalese. It’s often found in the company of rights and sometimes plots; access and properties can show up too. It’s always good to ink it out so no one will sue if you let someone use your cruft.