Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

Are you sturggled?

You may think I have misspelled the title of this post, and in a way I have, but I did so deliberately. The other day when typing struggle I accidentally typed sturggle. I thought that it looked like an interesting word, and wondered what it might mean. Apparently I’m not the first person to come […]

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Pauchle

I came across an interesting Scots word yesterday – pauchle [ˈp(j)ɑxl] – which I needed to look up, although from the context you can get an idea of its meaning: They’re hoping that they can pauchle the party rule book in order to insist that Corbyn must gain the support of at least 51 of […]

Also posted in English, Language, Scots 3 Comments

Heavy Plant Crossing

If you saw this sign, what kind of plant(s) would you expect to be crossing? In this context, plant refers to “a large, heavy machine or vehicle used in industry, for building roads, etc.” It can also mean “machines used in industry” or “a factory in which a particular product is made or power is […]

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Budge up!

In the café where I had lunch today I saw a sign saying “Blue Sky tables are for sharing. Budge up and say Hi!” (see photo). I thought budge up sounding like a very British kind of thing to say. Is it used in other English-speaking countries? If not, how would you ask someone to […]

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It’s a gas!

In Hiberno-English people might describe something fun and enjoyable as a gas. For example, “That’s gas”, “A gas laugh”, “Come on, it’ll be gas”, “He’s a gas character”, “Your man is gas” [source]. Last week an Irish friend told me that this expression comes from laughing gas (nitrous oxide), which was used at parties to […]

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Magrangs

Does anyone know if there is a word for words that have the same length and constituent letters, but are not anagrams, such as bee and ebb, and aloof and offal. I received an email from Peter Hewkin today who suggests the word magrang (a magrang of anagram) for such words. Do you have other […]

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Savouring sapient and savvy saphiophiles

An interesting new word I came across recently is sapiophile [seɪpɪofaɪl/sapiofaɪl]. When I first saw it I wasn’t sure what it meant, but as soon as I looked it up it made sense. It means “someone who is (sexually) attracted to intelligence / intelligent people” [source]. It comes from the Latin sapiō and the Ancient […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Greek, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European 2 Comments

Suburban bans

In French the word banlieue [bɑ̃.ljø] can refer to: 1. Circonscription territoriale qui s’étendait à une lieue hors de la ville et dans laquelle un juge pouvait exercer sa juridiction. (Territorial division that stretched a mile out of town and in which a judge could exercise jurisdiction). 2. Territoire et ensemble des localités qui environnent […]

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The elusive illusive

Sometimes you think you know a word, but when you check it, you discover that you’ve mixed it up with a similar-sounding word. That’s what happened to me this week with the words elusive and illusive. Without looking them up, do you know what they mean? When you’re searching for something but have trouble finding […]

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Rowing your boat

The French equivalent of to go for a row (in a boat), is faire un tour en barque or faire de la barque, and to row (a boat) is ramer, which also means to stake, although if you’re rowing as a sport then it’s faire de l’aviron. A barque is a small boat or rowing […]

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