Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: English Word ( No Answer,   42 Comments )
Subject: English Word
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: beauregard-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 27 Jul 2002 09:05 PDT
Expires: 26 Aug 2002 09:05 PDT
Question ID: 45805
I saw in an English Dictionary (probably not American English though)
a word whose definition was "A furtive rustling beneath the sheets". I
have forgotten what the word is that has this meaning. Can you find

Request for Question Clarification by aditya2k-ga on 28 Jul 2002 04:44 PDT
Can rustling beneath sheets be rustling of a dress? Is froufrou the
word you're looking for?

Please let me know so that I can elaborate on it if it is so

Clarification of Question by beauregard-ga on 28 Jul 2002 05:23 PDT
From the number of comments I've received, I'm beginning to think that
I dreamed the whole thing up, but I don't think so. I've looked
frou-frou up and this doesn't seem to be the word I was remembering.
Is it possible that this word is out of favor, and I saw it in a very
old dictionary? I certainly didn't expect this question to take so
much of your time, but for it, I thank you.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: English Word
From: secret901-ga on 27 Jul 2002 12:36 PDT
Some possible words:
Subject: Re: English Word
From: pinkfreud-ga on 27 Jul 2002 16:10 PDT
Subject: Re: English Word
From: voila-ga on 27 Jul 2002 17:22 PDT
From Random House Unabridged "rustling" is from the Middle English/Old
English word "hruxl(ian)" which makes me think of "luxuriate."
Subject: Re: English Word
From: pinkfreud-ga on 27 Jul 2002 17:29 PDT
Since I live in Oklahoma, it is difficult for me to associate the word
"rustling" with anything other than cattle. ;-)
Subject: Re: English Word
From: brad-ga on 27 Jul 2002 19:05 PDT
Hi beauregard-ga,

On the net I spent considerable time using the available reverse
Those net sites didn't even come close to an answer.
However, I did notice that Oxford offers a paperback reverse
dictionary if you are interested in such an item.
Initial Search:  with terms "reverse dictionary"

Good Luck,
Subject: Re: English Word
From: secret901-ga on 27 Jul 2002 21:16 PDT
I did an advanced search on the OED's online dictionary.  The only
definition containing the words "rustling" and "furtive" was stealthy
(not our answer).  Several definition containing the words "rustling"
and "sheets" or "sheet" were found.  The only one that comes closest
to it was
rattle: the rustling quality of a sheet of finished paper when
handled, indicative of its hardness and density.
frou-frou, which I mentioned earlier, means:
A rustling, esp. the rustling of a dress.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: lisarea-ga on 28 Jul 2002 09:18 PDT
Hi, Beauregard,

Every now and again, someone posts a question that just bugs everyone
until it's answered. You, Sir, have posted such a question.

I've tried this one, too, and have gotten nowhere, but I thought I'd
throw out a couple of ideas for the next researcher who decides to
give it a shot:

Reverse dictionaries have been mentioned already. Get a list of them
just by doing a Google search on - reverse dictionary -

Try synonyms, such as 'covers' for sheets

Consider that it may have been a joke word, like 'sniglets,' or the
definition might've been in one of those books of obscure/humorous

Now, someone go find this word so we can all put our minds at rest

I give up,
Subject: Re: English Word
From: voila-ga on 28 Jul 2002 10:43 PDT
Mr. Beauregard,

Think nothing of taking up our time, sir.  We're enjoying your
question immensely.  I'm trying hard not to confuse it with my other
projects on "dumping syndrome" "Tantric sex workshops" "multiple
intelligence" and "Vizslas" though.

Lisa:  I've expired my resources on reverse dictionaries and have now
moved on to erotic dictionaries.  It has to be a French word, oui? 
Here are the links I'm plugging today from my research on this topic.

Pink:  Get some sleep.  You make me feel like a slacker.

Still willin' 

p.s.  What, I'm the only one making luxuriating sounds while furtive
rustling beneath the sheets?  Uh...I don't think so.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: beauregard-ga on 28 Jul 2002 12:02 PDT

Isn't the Vizslas the dog that was bred for frisbee?
Subject: Re: English Word
From: voila-ga on 28 Jul 2002 12:58 PDT
No sir, I think they just point to frisbee.  The Hungarians strike me
as somewhat laid and their companions are that way, too.  They also
have the Komandors and the Pulis -- all very sweet dogs with good

Gee, this "erotic dictionary" route is a slippery slope indeed.  I'll
have to toss in the towel this evening if I come up empty.  Did find
"rustling" to mean either "froisser" or "bruissement" in French.  Also
tried an alt.French dictionary site but I can't post anything from
there. ;-)  I do believe there's a succinct word for your phrase --
just haven't found it yet.

Hope you don't mind us babbling to you while we search.  Some of us
like to entertain our customers as well as do research for them.

Back to the succinctorium,
Subject: Re: English Word
From: beauregard-ga on 28 Jul 2002 13:34 PDT

  This is my first question to GA and I am amazed by the energy and
enthusiasm you display. I’m quite in awe!. Of course I don’t mind
babbling: It’s quite entertaining. I’m amused when you refer to me as
“Sir” because I always think of my father as a “Sir”. Other words (not
mentionable on this site) are used more often to get my attention.
Again, I thank you.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: voila-ga on 28 Jul 2002 14:12 PDT
Hi Mr. Regard,

Well, Google Answers is one of the few forms of exercise I enjoy and
we're glad to have you on board.  Surely it's your name that connotes
the "sir."  It reminds me of my Reconstructionist days.  "Vashti,
crank up the 02.  This man's research is givin' me the verb vapors."

I'd better cut this out or I'll get my froisserlattage canned.  Plus I
have a nurse holding on 2.  We could go for the record of most
comments posted on a single question although I think the editors tend
to frown on that. ;-)

We *will* get this question answered for you though.

Researchers:  Jump on in here.  I have no claim on this question. ;-)
Subject: Re: English Word
From: pinkfreud-ga on 28 Jul 2002 16:42 PDT
Another word that describes rustling, murmuring sounds is "purling."

But perhaps that would only occur under knitted sheets. ;-)
Subject: Re: English Word
From: angy-ga on 30 Jul 2002 21:25 PDT
It seems faintly familiar to me too, probably from a cryptic
crossword. I've emailed the secretary at the Australian Crossword Club
to see if she remembers. The best dictionary for interesting obscure
words is arguable the Chambers Dictionary.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: angy-ga on 03 Aug 2002 01:27 PDT
I've had a brain wave - I think it may be from Douglas Adams' and John
Lloyd's book of spook definitions "The Deeper Meaning of Liff", which
defines placenames as words with meanings. They say:

"Does the sensation of Tingrith make you yelp? Do you bend
sympathetically when you see someone Ahenny? Can you deal with a
Naugatuck without causing a Toronto? Will you suffer from Kettering
this summer? Probably. You are almost certainly familiar with all
these experiences, but just didn't know that there are words for them.
Well, in fact, there aren't - or rather there weren't, until Douglas
Adams and John Lloyd decided to plug these egregious linguistic
lacunae by getting a few beers and a notebook and sitting on the beach
for a couple of weeks. They quickly realised that just as there are an
awful lot of experiences that no one has a name for, so there are a
lot of awful names of places you will never need to go to. "

My favourite defintion is:

"Scamblesby: a small dog resembling a throwrug who appears to be

Unfortunately I've mislaid my copy, so can't confirm it for you. Maybe
someone else can have a look?
Subject: Re: English Word
From: j_philipp-ga on 03 Aug 2002 12:56 PDT
To follow-up on the clue of "The Meaning of Liff", I've skimmed
through my copy and couldn't find anything resembling the definition
in question. But, if anybody else wants to give it a try, I might have
overlooked a word. Also see:

"Kelling (participial vb.)
A person searching for something, who has reached the futile stage of
re-looking in all the places they have looked once already, is said to
be kelling."
Subject: Re: English Word
From: voila-ga on 03 Aug 2002 17:07 PDT
I'm thinking more along the lines of a "spoonerism" by Peter de Vries.
 Meet ya here tomorrow, Sir B.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: grimace-ga on 05 Aug 2002 02:12 PDT
Tricky one... You say you dreamed the word up - perhaps you picked it
up sublinenally?

Subject: Re: English Word
From: bethc-ga on 05 Aug 2002 04:37 PDT
Thought I was onto something yesterday when I came across a dictionary
of untranslatable words in Borders. I sat down with a cup of coffee to
read all of the approximate translations of the words, thinking that
yours might be among them. No such luck.

Did happen upon this gem, though:

     frotteur (fr.noun) – one who rubs themselves against strangers in
crowded public places.

Subject: Re: English Word
From: bethc-ga on 05 Aug 2002 12:15 PDT
Wait--maybe this is your word.

The translation mentioned subways as one of the favorite haunts of the
frotteur. Are you sure you didn't mean "furtive rustling beneath the

Subject: Re: English Word
From: clouseau-ga on 05 Aug 2002 13:53 PDT
My daughter, a Douglas Adams fanatic, says it is definitely in "The
Deeper Meaning of Liff", but unfortunately has her copy packed at the

I'd look there more closely. She has a great memory 8^)
Subject: Re: English Word
From: beauregard-ga on 05 Aug 2002 14:58 PDT
No. It definitely was SHEETS not STREETS. Frankly I'm amazed how
everybody is looking for an erotic meaning to this definition. I mean,
like, can't one do something furtive beneath the sheets that isn't
erotic? Hmmmm. Maybe not. Sorry.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: lazerfx-ga on 05 Aug 2002 15:11 PDT
I haven't been able to help with exactly what word it is, however, I
have come across a few interesting quotations, which while the others
are working to answer your question may keep you happy :)

Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act III, Scene III

	O, this life
	Is nobler than attending for a cheque,
	Richer than doing nothing for a bauble,
	Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
	Such gain the cap of him that makes 'em fine,
	Yet keeps his book uncross'd: no life to ours.

Shakespeare, King Lear, Act III, Scene IV

	Let not the creaking of shoes nor the rustling of
	silks betray thy poor heart to woman: keep thy foot
	out of brothels, thy hand out of plackets, thy pen
	from lenders' books, and defy the foul fiend.

Alas, I am afraid this is all I could find for you with regards to
furtive rustling and silk sheets, though I am sure our intrepid team
of researchers will solve this problem post-haste.

Good luck to you Sir!

Subject: Re: English Word
From: beauregard-ga on 05 Aug 2002 15:57 PDT
I'm not a placket man myself, so there's no problem there. The brothel
part I may have trouble with. Thanks, though, for the advice.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: voila-ga on 05 Aug 2002 17:01 PDT
Uh, that erotic tie-in is probably my fault.  I like to make up
scenarios about why our customers want their information.  You're
either a writer of ante-bellum porn or a William Wegman type who
photographs canines in lewd poses on a four-poster.  Am I close?
Subject: Re: English Word
From: beauregard-ga on 05 Aug 2002 18:10 PDT
Uh, felines, actually.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: lisarea-ga on 08 Aug 2002 10:44 PDT
OK. I was just thinking on this again, and I decided that the word
should be 'frustling,' so I looked that up.

This site provides a definition of 'frustling':

They say it means:

"The shaking and showing of feathers by birds, or the strutting around
of someone with fancy clothing"

which would seem to indicate that this is not your word. However, look
at this other definition on that page:

"funkify - ( )
  To run away in fear "

Now, any reasonable person will confirm that this is NOT the correct
definition of 'funkify,' and as such, all of the definitions on this
page must be called into question.

A search on the root word 'frustle' comes up with these hits:

"Si-Cycle: simplest, only inorganic forms; organism include Si in
their skeletons, which is dissolved after their death; silica frustle
of diatoms is covered by organic matrix, which first has to be
degraded by bacteria "

"A-Hamster says he heard that E-Hamster, who is building the AI,
doesn't frustle his whiskers every night before he goes to bed"

The first usage is clearly some science stuff, and the second a nonce
word or some kind of hamster language, any of which would be pretty
easy to coopt by sheer brute force.

So, I declare by fiat the word 'frustle' to mean 'to furtively rustle
beneath the sheets.' I hope, Sir, that this solution, if not
completely satisfactory in terms of authority, will at least allow you
a moment's peace and perhaps provide an interim term you can use until
such a time as a more established term is located.

Or until I can write and publish a dictionary. 

Carry on.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: journalist-ga on 08 Aug 2002 11:10 PDT
Try the volume "The Superior Person's Book of Words" and also the
Sniglets books.  Who knows?  It may be in one of them, especially the
former.  Good luck.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: beauregard-ga on 08 Aug 2002 16:15 PDT

I think more words should be coined by fiat. I accept your word. It's
a wonderful word and you make a good case for it being the correct
word. Besides, when I use it (and I will, often) no one will know what
it means and I can tell them. But now that I think of it, I'll have to
find a way to bring casual conversations around to furtiveness,
rustling and sheets, but that shouldn't be too hard.

Subject: Re: English Word
From: voila-ga on 11 Aug 2002 10:53 PDT
Fie, funikfy fowl, General Beauregard!  I must strenuously object to
Lisa Marie coming in frustling her tail feathers and declaring that
she's a fiat, I don't care *who* her daddy was/is(?).  I also charge
that "frustling" was delivered by "artificial intelligence" in the
form of none other than Frances, her punked-out parrot.  {exhibit A: }  I
distinctly remember reading a 'no-parrot' provision in our GA
researchers' contract.

While 'frustling' does have a sense of panache by combining 'furtive'
and 'rustling' (wrestling), I this would assert that it only had
qualifying usage for feather bed frustlers.

Besides, {whine} several of us still have feelers out in hopes that we
can massage our sources into giving up this all-encompassing word
you're looking for.

In the meantime, I'd like to maserati a few by you for entertainment
purposes only.  None are your word but I thought that with a little
imagination, some dim lighting, and just the right posing you could
use them for your Kitty Kalendar Kaptions.  They're all legit words
(and in alphabetic order, I might add) gleaned from this website. { }
Who says we don't go the extra mile for our customers?

dutch hoe
hop the twig
piffy on a rock bun
sonic cruiser
sport one's oak
touch wood
up in Annie's room
worth the candle

I say we put a few of these words back in fashion, and you're just the
man to do it.  Also, I hope you leave your question open.  We can
surely crank your comments up to 50 in the 14 days left on your query.
 Whattya say?

Your humble servant, grammarian, (and Miss September),
Subject: Re: English Word
From: beauregard-ga on 11 Aug 2002 13:06 PDT
Miss September? Had I known there was a celebrity in our midst I would
never have accepted Lisarea's word. Yours are so much better; I
especially like snollygoster and often think of myself as one. Let's
make the best use of the 14 remaining days (my how time flies). You
have all put in far more effort than I ever expected and for it I am
grateful. So, if at all possible, no more frustling (unless you
absolutely cannot help yourself).
Subject: Re: English Word
From: grimace-ga on 12 Aug 2002 04:05 PDT
I have to say that, on this side of the pond at least,
'mollycoddling', 'touch wood', 'stonking' and 'worth the candle' are
very much still alive and in common usage. They will - touch wood - be
around for a while yet.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: lisarea-ga on 12 Aug 2002 06:52 PDT
Well, I never.

Rest assured it was never my intention to in any way impede the search
or preclude anyone from locating the intended word. My sole intention
was to provide an interim solution and a thesaurus entry. I suppose
none of the other 'dedicated researchers' thought of THAT, now did

And what exactly is the shelf life of a title such as Miss September,
anyway? It is currently August. The most current September was eleven
months ago. What, exactly, have you done since? Hmmm? Or perhaps this
is some form of perpetual title, in which you, Ms. Viola, reign
supreme each and every September, galumphing about, passing down
seasonal edicts and the like? The relative lack of holidays occurring
in September might speak to your abilities in that arena.


I apologize, Beauregard, Sir, that you have to witness this sort of
thing, but I simply will not have this draconian despot staging some
hackneyed coup on neighboring months.

No, I'M your humble servant,

PS: 'Plewd' is the name for a cartoon sweat droplet suspended in air
about the head, intended to convey nervousness or anxiety.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: speculator-ga on 15 Aug 2002 13:26 PDT
Sir Beauregard,

I'm sorry that I also have no answer to your infuriating inquiry, but
as I am, in real life, John Lloyd, co-author of "The Meaning of Liff",
and quondam best friend of Douglas Adams, I can definitely confirm
that there is no such word in the afore-mentioned publication.

Subject: Re: English Word
From: sublime1-ga on 19 Aug 2002 23:48 PDT
So, lisarea...

Does 'frustrating' then derive from the root of frustling,
and refer to the act of rating a frustler's furtiveness...?
Subject: Re: English Word
From: lisarea-ga on 22 Aug 2002 09:39 PDT
Yes, Sublime1!

I very much like this idea of making "frustling" a back formation of

It could be sort of a combination of a straight coining of a term and
a folk etymology in the form of said back formation.

I'd still like to find the original word in question, but if I may get
up on this soapbox briefly, allow me to just say that the arbiters of
language are all self-appointed, and as far as I'm concerned, we
should throw the bums out.

Who's done more for the English language, after all? The frosty
naysayers who cobble together the structure and origins of dead
languages and retrofit our living language to fit these necrotic
grammars they so jealously guard, or the dynamic and inventive culture
that created the consuetudinal 'be' and the interjected cuss word as
adverbial amplifier?

Ha! The language belongs to US; the hillbillies, the rappers, the
street urchins, and the befuddled masses who find ourselves fumbling
for words and constructs to best describe the circumstances of our so
vital existence.

The paucity of references to the term for furtive sheet rustlings, I
think, speaks volumes about the dull and uneventful lives of those who
claim they own our language. Because certainly such folks slip quietly
between their sheets, still as death itself, never to rustle or
scuttle about furtively. They have nothing to hide and indeed, little
to interest anyone in the first place. But we the people--the
gloriously unwashed masses--need not only the original word that
Leader Beauregard seeks, but we need synonyms as well, because we're
likely to refer to such acts several times within a single utterance,
and we'd like to preserve the musical and colorful cadence of this
language of ours.

But we must be quick. There are only a few days left before the
question expires!
Subject: Re: English Word
From: austin_trill-ga on 25 Aug 2002 16:40 PDT
Sorry guys, but according to my edition of Sniglets, "frust" is the
line of debris which refuses to be swept into a dustpan, backing a
person across the room until they give up and sweep it under a rug.  I
imagine that the verb of this would be "frustling".
I checked through my Deeper Meaning of Liff and there's nothing to
match the furtive rustling in there either.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: voila-ga on 26 Aug 2002 05:35 PDT
Dear Gen. Snollygoster T. Beauregard, III,
It seems we have failed to deliver the word in our 29 day time limit. 
  Rest assured this will Viszla the research staff at GA for some time
to come.   Please know that your question has provided us with loads
of entertainment, strange forays into vocabulary expansion, and
playful banter that is not always possible with every questioner at
GA.  For that, sir, we are grateful that you've played our game.
As a side note to Lisa Marie, for your information, I am a
well-preserved Miss September as I was born with a silica capsule in
my mouth.  I will continue my reign indefinitely and invade
neighboring months as I see fit.  Now back up off me before I cut you
with my mummified sash from 1936.
Please do come back and see us, General.  I assure you, your many
names will live in infamy here at GA.
Warm frustling regards,
Viola September (draconian despot for life)
Subject: Re: English Word
From: sublime1-ga on 27 Aug 2002 20:32 PDT

Well your definition of frust is quite illuminating,
and while it may not serve as a proper root for 
frustling, it certainly seems an appropriate
foundation for frustrating!
Subject: Re: English Word and a Fond Farewell
From: beauregard-ga on 27 Aug 2002 22:42 PDT
Our time together has run out and now we must all go our own ways. But
Ah, my friends, it's been such a lovely time. I could not have asked
for more a diligent pursuit of the answer to my question, and although
not found, the pursuit has been worth all. I like to think that
somewhere in virtual reality there's a large room filled with
computers and Google Answerers, all clicking away day after day.

I can only post my heartfelt thanks and can only hope that some day,
over some other question, we'll meet again.

Oh, so fondly,
Beauregard Jackson Pickett Coburn

P.S. Not a difficult question, but you might spend a moment or two
determining after whom I was named, or more correctly, after whom I
have named myself on this web site.
Subject: Re: English Word
From: mariane0-ga on 05 May 2004 10:11 PDT
If it's any help, the french word for that is "froufroutement". 
I tried the french/english online dictionnary and it didn't know 
"froufroutement", so I can't tell you what it is in english.

Subject: Re: English Word
From: beauregard-ga on 05 May 2004 21:37 PDT
Now we're getting somewhere. You actually know the word? In French it
actually means what I've thought it means? Wow! I'm not insane after
all, as some of the other google answer people silently accused me of?
Oh I know you all talk behind my back and I don't really mind, but to
be proven not totally incompetent is a dream I couldn't even dream of
having. Oh joy! Oh rapture! I know you all sit in a large room at
google headquarters and on your smoke breaks talk about the crazies
you're dealing with. Fess up. I'm right and I know it. But how
comforting just to know that you're there, ready at the click of my
mouse to help me with whatever question I may come up with. Thank you
and thank google for creating you.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy