"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."

Thursday, 31 January 2013


I used the expression well-oiled in relation to my burned hand recently – i.e. I was keeping my hand well-oiled, that is, covered in oil.  It also means operating efficiently.  But well-oiled has a more common colloquial use – it means drunk. 


  1. Did you know it appears in the bible? There is a passage in - I think - Deuteronomium where the Israelites long for what they have left behind in Egypt, the "plates well-oiled and the pots of meat". It may not be exactly that wording, since I have not read the bible in English.

  2. No, I didn't Meike, information like this is all grist to the mill... Ah, another phrase up look up and put on my blog!