The obscure word of the week is ‘fig’, but not ‘fig’ as in fruit

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The obscure word this week is fig. No really.

Let me explain. Yes, it’s a well known type of fruit. But it had a meaning in the nineteenth century in reference to military uniform – from ‘figure’, as in ‘cut a fine figure’. It was also used to mean ‘condition’, as in ‘fine fig’. I’ve only ever seen it used in the military uniform sense by two authors – George McDonald Fraser, who correctly used it as a period term in his Flashman books – and by Christopher Lee in his autobiography.

Your challenge? Use today’s obscure word in a sentence, down in the comments.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2017


4 thoughts on “The obscure word of the week is ‘fig’, but not ‘fig’ as in fruit

    1. I first saw the usage years ago in George McDonald Fraser’s Flashman novels. Tried to use it myself in some of my non fiction about the same period but it turned out my editors at Penguin had never heard of the usage! Pity. It’s a good one.

  1. As the Colonel approached the buffet, he admired the cut of his aide’s jib, as the latter prepared the food. You cut a fine fig, said the Colonel, to which the bloke replied, yes sir, fuck you, sir.

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