Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK, READ BY HUGH DENNIS The Horologicon (or book of hours) gives you the most extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to the hour of the day when you really need them. Do you wake up feeling rough? Then you`re philogrobolized. Pretending to work? That`s fudgelling, which may lead to rizzling if you feel sleepy after lunch, though by dinner time you will have become a sparkling deipnosophist. From Mark Forsyth, author of the bestselling The Etymologicon, this is a book of weird words for familiar situations. From ante-jentacular to snudge by way of quafftide and wamblecropt, at last you can say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.
Then when somebody says, “Hey, Baldassare, do you play the lute at all?,” you can reply, “The lute? Hmm. I’ve never tried but pass it here . . . Oh, like this?”—and then knock off a little virtuoso performance while looking bored. Everybody gasps in astonishment at your effortless ability, and you appear much better than you would have done had the whole court heard you plink plonk plunking for months on end. This Great Untranslatable, graceful nonchalance hiding discreet diligence, simply
given targets and quotas and other such rot by the state, but they often weren’t given any raw materials. So they would sit around with their feet up and their tools down waiting until the necessaries arrived, and it was only when the deadline was knocking at the door and the gulag beckoned that they would panic, grab whatever was to hand, and do a really shoddy, half-arsed heap of work, or shturmovshchina. It’s an excellent and easily usable word that should be included in the Special Skills
abandoned somewhere near the till and all are equally jolly (except the nicotinians who have to go outside these days). Of course, the table will probably require pooning. It usually does. To poon is: To prop up the piece of furniture with a wedge (a poon) under the leg (from 1856). Originally, to poon seems to have meant to be unsteady, and you propped up the leg that pooned. That definition is taken from a dictionary of school slang peculiar to the Collegium Sancta Maria Wincorum or,
hold cabinet meetings at just around this time, which were known to the poor people who had to attend as Churchill’s midnight follies. Then he would pace around the cabinet war rooms during the small hours phoning people up and giving orders that were often complete nonsense and rightly ignored. Alan Brooke, Churchill’s Chief of Staff, later recalled that “Winston had ten ideas every day, only one of which was good, and he didn’t know which one it was.”23 Those who feel philogrobolized all
got knapt, his kettle’s hot. He’ll soon keel upward, he’s in his liquor, lordly, light, lappy, limber, lopsided, makes indentures with his legs, is well to live, sees two moons, is merry, middling, muddled, moon-eyed, maudlin, mountainous, muddy, mellow, has seen a flock of moons, has raised his monuments, has eaten cacao nuts, is nimtopsical, has got the night mare, has been nonsuited, is super nonsensical, in a state of nature, nonplussed, oiled, has ate opium, has smelt an onion, is an