Where did the word “tulle” come from, and is it related to “tootle?” #FridayFollow @wayword

There’s a very thin fabric we sometimes use for doll clothes called “tulle.” In Idaho, where I live, we say this word like “tool” (like a hammer is a tool). In the video above, I explain the uses of tulle in making petticoats and tutus for doll clothes.

Earlier this month, someone from Denmark left a comment below my “What Is Tulle?” video on YouTube, explaining that in Danish, the word “tulle” is used to indicate that you’re just “doing something without being busy.”

This got me thinking… Could this be where English got the term “tootle,” as in “Dad’s retired now, so he just tootles around the house”? Do these two words have a similar origin?

I asked this question of Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett who are language experts on the radio show and podcast A Way with Words. Being a school librarian in my day job, I love those kinds of radio shows that delve into history, and especially the history of words!

This image shows the faces of Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette, hosts of "A Way with Words" podcast and radio show. All rights reserved.
This image provided courtesy of https://www.waywordradio.org All rights reserved.

A Way with Words is a call-in public radio show about language. It’s heard across the country and around the world by broadcast and podcast. Click here to learn more about today’s #FridayFollow, A Way with Words.

If you haven’t heard their podcast, I highly recommend it. I guarantee you’ll learn something new and fascinating! And if you’ve never listened to a podcast before, this is a great one to start with.

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