"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."

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


An Oxonian is a member (or former member) of the University of Oxford, England. The term is derived from Oxonia, the Latin form of Oxenford or Oxford. The term could theoretically also refer to an inhabitant of the city of Oxford, but is less used in this context.

However, this was not the context in which the word cropped up in today’s crossword. The clue was ‘Person from a place of lost causes’. We were left with o-o-l-a- when we gave up. The answer was Oxonian and I subsequently discovered that Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) called Oxford University "Home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties! " referring in particular, one assumes, to Oxford's support for the ill-fated Charles I .

1 comment:

  1. don't always leave a comment here, but l love dropping by and catching up with your bons mots!!