"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, 31 August 2010



Leucippotomy is the art of carving white horses in chalk upland areas, particularly as practiced in southern England.

Sunday, 29 August 2010


Adoxography is fine writing in praise of trivial, minor or base subjects; much practised by lawyers at our expense.


Orthography is the accepted way of spelling and writing words.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


Muggy means hot or warm and humid. It strikes me that 'muggy weather' might be a particularly British expression. Is 'muggy weather' something that is ever said in US English?

Answers on a postcard, please....

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


A luthier is a craftsman who makes or repairs stringed instruments (as lutes or guitars or violins).

Saturday, 7 August 2010



Maugre, as an adverb and preposition, meant notwithstanding or in spite of. It was usually found in poetry and is now obsolete.

As a verb it meant to wish ill-will.

Monday, 2 August 2010


Gangling means tall and thin and having long slender limbs - often used of teenagers who have yet to put on body weight.

Sunday, 1 August 2010


I came across the word spindly - describing someone - the other day and whilst it wasn't an unknown word it did strike me as one of the more amusing words in the English language. I don't know why but it just hit my funny bone.

Spindly means tall, slender and frail; lank; long and lean; charcateristic of a spindle - slender and of weak appearance.

A spindle is a stick or pin used to twist the yarn in spinning.

There is also a Spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus)which is quite spidnly - I wonder if the name came from the tree or vice versa?

The spindle-side of a family tree is the female line of descent and spindle-shank is a term used for someone with long thin legs.