"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, 24 December 2010


In former times to be gravelled meant to be perplexed. The word was still in common usage in Victorian times.

Thursday, 23 December 2010


A volute is the spiral curve on an Ionic capital; spiral; ornament consisting of a curve on a plane that winds around a centre with an increasing distance from the centre.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


To animadvert means to opine: express one's opinion openly and without fear or hesitation; express blame or censure or make a harshly critical remark

Thursday, 2 December 2010


A divan (pronounced with a short i like divine) is a long backless sofa (usually with pillows against a wall). In former times the name was also applied to a smoking room. Cigar and tobacco sellers would sometimes have an upstairs room where men (only!) could chill out with a cup of ciffee and a cigar - these were called divans.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010



The chimera is a fire-breathing creature with a lion’s head, goat’s body, and a snake’s tail.