"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."

Sunday, 20 November 2011


I know the word tottie as a slang expression for a good looking teenage girl,
especially one that is a tease or dressed to look older than she is.

However, when I came across 'totties' in a Thomas Hardy book it was used to mean 'feet' according to the book note on the expression 'me totties be cold'. Perhaps it was a dialect term for feet in the South but the note brought from the deep recesses of my mind a vague remembrance that totties referred to toes here in the North. Any comments on this use of the term would be welcome.


As a noun, nonce means for the time being, temporarily, the present, or immediate, occasion or purpose (usually used in the phrase "for the nonce"). A slightly archaic term.

As an adjective it is used of a word or expression used on one occasion: "a nonce usage". I wasn't sure I fully understood this meaning until I read the following in the Wikipedia:- A nonce word is a word used only "for the nonce"—to meet a need that is not expected to recur. Quark, for example, was formerly a nonce word in English, appearing only in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Murray Gell-Mann then adopted it to name a new class of subatomic particle. The use of the term nonce word in this way was apparently the work of James Murray, the influential editor of Oxford English Dictionary.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Eidetic (pronounced eye-det-ik) is an adjective meaning of, pertaining to, or constituting visual imagery vividly experienced and readily reproducible with great accuracy and in great detail. Relating to or denoting mental images having unusual vividness and detail, as if actually visible.

The word can also be used as a noun for a person who is able to to form or recall eidetic images.

I remember that at school we envied my friend George who could read pages of a history book and recall them almost word for word - even knowning where on the page any particular fact lay.

I'm not sure if it has an antonymn but it's the opposite of what my brother, GB, experiences - he has difficulty visualising things!

Friday, 18 November 2011


A speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, a

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


I like visit my fellow bloglings on Alphabet Wednesday. Apart from anything else there are a couple who often introduce me to new words. One of those this week was Jo in Australia who gave me Reckling.

A reckling is the smallest or weakest of the litter. There are many similar words, especially used among the farming communities of different areas of the country and the world. One of the most popular is runt but reckling sounds a lot less unattractive. (Yes, I know that was a double negative but ‘a lot more attractive’ didn’t sound quite right).

My Dad used to describe himself as the runt of the litter because he was the last and so much smaller than his siblings. He remained fitter than them all throughout his life and died at the age of 93!

At one time I had a list of such words that I had collected during my wanders among the dialects of the UK but I seem to have lost it. I recall that nubbin and picayune (a word of US origin that somehow found its way to rural England) were among them. Any more would be welcome if you can contribute!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011



A quoz is an absurb thing or person.

It can also be used as an adjective when it is slang for quality, a cockney term for something good. usually accompanied with a hand action of slapping your index finger against the stationery thumb and middle finger.

Sunday, 13 November 2011



Pyknic is an adjective denoting a stocky physique with a rounded body and head, thickset trunk, and a tendency to be fat.

Thanks to this blogling for bringing me this word.

Perhaps being pyknic is caused by going on too many picnics -
Picnic - an excursion or outing in which the participants carry food with them.

Friday, 11 November 2011


A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or re-interpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

Thanks to this blogling for leading me to a new word!
Some more examples:-

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station.
I didn't say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.
Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011



A logophile is what anyone who reads this blog is likely to be - a lover of words.

"I am a lifelong logophile if not an out-and-out verbivore. I have a good ear and a good memory for words, it's just a kind of tic or trick, the way some lucky people can play a song by ear after hearing it once or count cards at blackjack or spot four-leaf clovers. Unusual and specialized words tend to lodge in my mind, where they hang around, often for years, until I need them."

(Michael Chabon, The New York Times, Feb. 8, 2007)"

Monday, 7 November 2011


To divagate means to digress; to lose clarity or turn aside especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument in writing or thinking; to stray off from a subject, focus, or course.

The noun is divagation meaning a straying from the way, a diversion.

Saturday, 5 November 2011



Obequitate - an obsolete intransitive verb meaning to ride about [from the Latin obequitatus , past participle of obequitare to ride about]. The noun, obequitation - is also obsolete. A shame, I fancy a bit of obequitation on a sunny day.

Thursday, 3 November 2011


A sluggard is a lazy, indolent person; sxomeone who is perpetually idle or slothful.

"'Tis the voice of the sluggard;
I heard him complain,
You have waked me too soon,
I must slumber again."

Watts - the Divine Songs

Tuesday, 1 November 2011



Brick-nogging is the brickwork filled in betwen the timbers of a wood-framed wall or partition.