"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, 30 June 2012


    I came across a word that was new to me the other day - prevised. So I did what I usually do and looked it up.
To previse means to know in advance; foresee; notify in advance; or forewarn.
Prevised therefore means known in advance, imagined beforehnad, or forewarned. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012



Prelapsarian is an adjective. Strictly speaking it means of or relating to the period before the fall of Adam and Eve; characteristic of the time before the Fall of Man.  It is, however, also used in a broader context to mean innocent and unspoiled; or simply ancient.

In a Ruth Rendell novel, for example, a young girl who drives an automatic car describes her mother's car with gears as prelapsarian.

It appears to be pronounced prlps-ARE-ian but don't quote me on that - I'm no good at working with the phoentic alphabet.

Saturday, 23 June 2012


   Tracklements are savoury jellies, served with meat or savoury condiments (for example mustards, relishes or chutneys), especially ones served with meat.

 The word first appeared in the 1950s and is of unknown origion.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


A pothook is an S-shaped hook for hanging pots and kettles over an open fire.  But in a meaning almost fallen out of use nowdays it came to mean a written character resembling a pothook and, later, simply a scrawled written  character or a fancy one with extra squiggles on it. 

I have my own theory as to why the word came to be related to writing. Pothooks would have been made by the local blacksmith - each of whom would have had his own design.  So much as one person's writing varied from another so did pothooks.

"The pothooks straggled a little wildly across the page, as if written too hurriedly, on a pad balanced on someone’s knee." (Mary Stewart - "Touch not the Cat" 1976)