"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


All too often we are tempted to ignore words that we don't know when we read them. If the context is obvious we simply read around them. Such was nearly the case when I read "From the shared courtyard below, several cream-harled buildings, with tagged-on staircases and balconies, grew higgledy-piggledy skywards, their scale and style an odd mixture of Arts and Crafts and Scottish baronial," in a novel about Edinburgh, recently.

However, recalling my desire to edcuate myself, I checked out 'harled' (no result) then 'harling' and discovered the latter defined as "Harling or roughcasting is a process of covering stonework, using a plastering process involding a slurry of small pebbles or fine chips of stone."

Obvious really, as I had suspected, but I thought I'd share the thought and action process with you.

1 comment:

  1. I was completely taken aback by the fact that you didn't know this until I remembered: I've lived on the Island for 34 years where just about every building is harled. And we (allegedly) speak the same language!