Invent a definition for the word “flangiprop,” then use the word in a post.

Flang • i • prop


  1. A superfluous item used in a construction project.
  2. Any piece of extraneous material.

Flangiprops are ostensibly purposeless items that are included wastefully just for the sake of it. In construction, flangiprops are items bricked up behind walls or buried under foundations. They are extra pieces of wiring in a circuit that don’t enhance the functionality of a device.

The word has as many uses as there are items with potentially useless applications.

In computer programming, flangiprops are functions that execute upon conditions that are never met. In art, they are scenes painted over with other scenes that hide them from view. In fiction, they are passages that add nothing to the characterisation or plot.

They are the page in an examination paper that reads “blank page”. They are the sign on a 10ft wall topped with barbed wire that reads “keep out”.

People doing useless activities can be said to be flangipropping (as a verb). Footballers flangiprop when they pass the ball endlessly between two or three of them in their own half, making no progress against the opposition. The men and women who work on Underground platforms are flangipropping when they tell people to let passengers off the train before boarding and to move down the carriages using all the available space.

When I was taking my A Levels, I heard a classmate of mine explain how he was planning to dump his girlfriend at the end of the summer just before he went to university. You have to arrive at freshers’ week single, apparently, but why not have some fun over the summer? The last couple of months of that relationship were a flangiprop for her.

There is a fantastic scene in Simpsons episode from years ago where two people are carrying an enormous sheet of glass across a road. The dodge various things that risk colliding with the glass by swerving to the side and raising the glass up above the oncoming item. They make it across the road with the glass intact. Relieved, they dump the glass into a skip with a smash and cross back across the road. They were flangipropping: protecting that which they intended to discard very soon after.

I really quite like this word. I’d like to use it. Only, I can’t help but wonder, given that we’ve managed without it in the English language for so long, do we actually need it? Would I be using it simply for the sake of it? Would the word itself become a flangiprop?

London, N7
Posted on 01/02/2014  •  437 words

Listening to: The Flood by Take That