"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."
Friday, 10 July 2009
Peep is a word (both a verb and a noun) with a variety of meanings to which a new one has been recently added. Its meanings include to look furtively; make high-pitched sounds (especially of young birds); speak in a hesitant and high-pitched tone of voice; to appear as though from hiding; to peek; and to take a secret look.
"He peeped at the woman through the window." "The newly hatched birds uttered their little peeps in the nest." "The new moon peeped through the tree tops."
When people utter swear words before the watershed time on British television their swearing is often deleted and a peep sound put in its place. As a result the word peep has become an alternative word for a bad person - the sort one would describe with a swear word if one were less delicate.
Hence, "The skip needed to be filled as soon as possible because we didn't want other irresponsible peeps out there putting items in our skip." (Dewi)
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
I'm a blogger - nowadays that seems to be my main occupation and Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. I enjoy all manner of communication apart from the telephone and am constantly e-mailing, texting, writing postcards and letters and commenting on other people's blogs.
Scriptor Senex is Latin for Old Writer and my real name is John but I've almost forgotten that nowadays...
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)