"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."

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Dicky Seat


A rumble seat, dicky seat, dickie seat or dickey seat is an upholstered exterior seat which hinges or otherwise opens out from the rear deck of a pre-World War II automobile, and seats one or more passengers. In a carriage, a rumble (short for "rumble-tumble") was a seat behind the body used by servants.

Prior to World War I, a single, center-mounted rumble seat was sometimes referred to as a mother-in-law seat.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Lingua Franca

Lingua Franca was originally a term applied to a language - a mixture of Italian, French, Greek and Arabic - spoken on the coasts of the Mediterranean.

Nowadays it is used to mean any muixture of languages that serves as a means of communication between different peoples.

Sunday, 6 June 2010


   Originally to ride a hobby-horse was to play a childish game of which one soon tired.  Nowadays it implies dwelling to excess on a pet theory.  The transition between the two came around the time of John Wesley (1703-1791) who wrote in omne of his sermons "Everyone has (to use the cant term of the day) his hobby-horse!

Friday, 4 June 2010


When I saw this notice at the front of our local bus I assumed they had made up the word 'standee' but it seems it was simply one which had escaped my notice before.

A standee is somebody who is forced to stand, for example on a crowded bus;

(I still can't make sense of the notice though - I think it was meant to read 1 wheelchair or five standees.)

A standee is also a life-size shape, for instance of a celebrity, cut out of cardboard, often used for advertising and promotional purposes.

"He had his picture taken with a standee of the president"

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Agony Aunt

An agony aunt is someone who answers questions about personal problems in a newspaper or magazine. Agony columns go back to at least 1860 – at which time they included messages for missing relatives – but the phrase itself seems to date back to about the 1930s. Neither phrase was greatly used until the 1970s and both are mainly restricted to Britain.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


  Misogyny is hatred (or contempt) of women or girls  

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


  Mimesis is the imitative representation of nature and human behavior in art and literature. The word also means any disease that shows symptoms characteristic of another disease; the representation of another person's words in a speech; or mimicry of one species by another - often for means of self-protection.