"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, 20 August 2013


  In linguistics, a phatic expression is one whose only function is to perform a social task, as opposed to conveying information. An example might be the use of 'Eh' at the end of a sentence - "What do think, eh?"

Friday, 16 August 2013


A geek is a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest.  It is most popularly used in the term ‘computer geek’.

Nowadays the word geek is a slang term originally used to describe odd or non-mainstream people, with different connotations ranging from "an expert or enthusiast" to "a person heavily interested in a hobby", with a general pejorative meaning of "a peculiar or otherwise socially inept person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual".

Although often considered as a pejorative, the term is also often used self-referentially without malice or as a source of pride. Its meaning has evolved to connote "someone who is interested in a subject (usually intellectual or complex) for its own sake."

But in the early 20th Century a geek was a circus freak and geekery meant bizarre physical acts performed by geeks.  Amongst these were carnival performers, often billed as wild men, whose act usually included biting the head off a live chicken or snake.  Gross!

The meaning changed to its more expert / eccentric one after Robert Heinlein used the term geek to mean a maths freak in 1952.

Thursday, 1 August 2013


   Desiderium is an archaic word meaning a yearning for something one once had but has no more. I not only have a desiderium for my lost youth but also for many of the books which have passed through my hands over the years and been sold on or given away.  If I won the lottery I would have a large house.  Not for show or because I want the space for myself but in order to display all my books and pictures. I would then satisfy many of my desideriums (or is it desideria) by buying them all again.