Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Withenay's Wednesday Word - a series about words and their meanings. 
Sometimes the word is chosen because I like it, sometimes because it is unusual, sometimes because I have heard or read it in the previous week; often because that is just where the dictionary took me. Together we can expand our vocabulary, inch by inch (or maybe letter by letter). Your challenge is to invent a sentence in the comments box that includes it.

(an adjective)
source unknown

Unusually, this week I have chosen a word that has no definition, although it is (from what I can gather) an allowable word in Scrabble.

I must have first come across it whilst living in Zambia. At the moment my book In the Shade of the Mulberry Tree is at the proofreader's, and I look forward to finding out whether she queries the word. It is only used once, in a sentence along the lines of
My son was getting a bit fratchety in the back of the car.
If I tell you he was not yet three years old at that point, and we were held up by the police who were letting a VIP cavalcade go past, and he wanted his lunch...can you understand the word?

I assume it is the result of combining fractious and crotchety. I love the word, as it is a softer expression than crotchety (which I associate with anger more than boredom). And you'll be pleased to know that my son was not frequently fratchety, so you are not going to be repeatedly bamboozled by it when you read the book!

Anyone else with fratchety children out there?

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