Tag Archives: words

What are words worth?

As Talking Heads alumni band Tom Tom Club once sang: “What are words worth?” Well quite a lot when you think you knew a few of them and in the space of a day you encounter two — make that … Continue reading

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Donald Trump’s hair peace

This may be the way that it was just before Rome fell. With barbarians cradling assault rifles at the gate, the commentariat wile away the time that is left to them by worrying themselves sick about Zwarte Piet-type problems. Zwarte … Continue reading

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Is there a rack where disused words are hung?

Is there a rack where disused words are hung like lost umbrellas, waiting for someone to claim and recycle them? Here’s a verb: to glimm. Sadly I am either much too young or much too old to ever utter it, … Continue reading

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What are words worth?

‘Plump’ is an interesting word. I hear you say: “Isn’t ‘plump’ just the euphemism you awkwardly use to describe that fat kid to his parents’ face?” Fairy godmothers are plump; untermenschen are clinically obese. Well, no. It carries other meanings. … Continue reading

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More from the Little Cyclopedia of Common Things

More real life from the 1880s as told to readers of the Little Cyclopedia of Common Things, (see a previous post for more about the book), brought to you this time by the letter P. Every one a winner for … Continue reading

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Not from Cyprus, not so frail

How we call things at any moment in history is an interesting topic. Times change and words are re-chosen to fit the mood of the age. I thought I’d heard every euphemism there was to hear about prostitutes. ‘Ladies of … Continue reading

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“In consequence of having had the screw put on…”

Every once in a while you bump into something you weren’t looking for, but the happenstance makes you smile. Although FH Lewisson of Auckland, New Zealand has been dead this many a long year, you have to have hoped that … Continue reading

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Local newspapers have a death wish

On British local newspapers, traditionally that time-honoured apprenticeship of newsgathering, ill-fitted Fleet Street tricks are being aped. You can see this for yourself in headline language used to “big up” a story. “Council boss hits out over bins horror”, “Attendance … Continue reading

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You know all the words and you sang all the notes

We have sown a minefield and thrown away the map as we let the word ‘respect’ remake itself — and not in our image. When you read of a teen hoodlum who stabs someone who “disrespects” him, you can see … Continue reading

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