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VI. LANGUAGE – WORDS AND PHRASES

Grindstone

Specially carved stones used to grind seeds into flour.

Grist

A quantity of grain to be ground. It refers not only to wheat but

also to grains such as oats, corn, rye, barley, etc.

Flail

A tool that consists of a wooden staff with a short heavy stick swinging from it to beat the harvested grain and separate the kernel from the inedible chaff.

Mill

A building equipped with machinery.

Grist mill

A mill with machinery designed to grind grain into flour.

Miller

A person who owns or operates a grist mill.

Thresh

To separate the wheat kernel or berry from the inedible chaff by beating with a flail, etc. To beat severely. Straw or dried hay used for livestock or roof thatch.

Threshold

A strip of wood, stone or bundled straw forming the bottom of a doorway and crossed on entering or leaving a building.

Cross the threshold

The threshold is the transition between safety (home and hearth) and the uncertainty of the wider world. The phrase means stepping from certainty to uncertainty.

Flailing away

Swinging or waving about wildly.

It’s all grist for the mill

Everything can be made useful or be a source of profit.

Keep your nose to the grindstone

If a grindstone is turned too fast it will build up heat and burn the flour. Millers frequently sniffed their grindstones to make sure the flour wasn’t burning. So, this phrase refers to any hard, consistent work.

Run of the Mill

Undistinguished, ordinary, average. That is, the ordinary flour produced by a mill.

Through the Mill

To be exposed to hardship or rough treatment, just like grain being ground.

To have a millstone around one’s neck

To have a heavy weight of worry or work weighing one down

ELP Agriculture-Grist Mill

Page 2 of 6

Rev 8/08

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