Well that didn’t last long. Here we are, back on the ‘sorry-go-round’ – trapped in a repetitive cycle of depressing actions or events. There were glimmers of good news. Hope of a vaccine, and even of vaccines, plural. Lewis Hamilton became the most successful Formula-1 champion ever, raising the spirits of Britain’s sports fans. The government’s ten-point plan for a green revolution, although inadequate, is at least a step in the right direction. (See Miles King’s article, Green industrial revolution or greenwash? for analysis of the plan).
Sadly, it was all overshadowed by #BullyGate – and in Anti-Bullying Week too. Eight days into his much-vaunted ‘re-set’, Boris Johnson managed to cause yet another ‘conclamation’ (united roar of disapproval). Decent citizens, concerned parents and children’s advocates the length and breadth of the country decried his weakness in not ‘exsibilating’ (hissing a poor performer off the stage) Priti Patel from government. Second only in the disapproval stakes, was Ms Patel herself for being a ‘smellfungus’ (a grumbler, faultfinder, or one who likes to shift the blame for their own mistakes onto someone else) lacking the honour to resign.
What a ‘fankle’ (predicament). It’s enough to make you indulge in a bit of ‘lalochezia’ (alleviating stress and frustration by swearing). Or else to hibernate. Our language has a wealth of weird and wonderful words for that ‘wake me up when it’s over – I’m pulling the duvet over my head’ feeling. ‘Snerdling’, ‘croozling’, ‘snoodling’, ‘snuzzling’ and ‘snudging’ are all words from local dialects for retreating under the covers and remaining snug and quiet. My personal favourite, ‘lucifugal’, pronounced ‘loose-if-few-gul’, literally means ‘fleeing the light’ and is the perfect word for peeking out from beneath the duvet and promptly diving back under. Another corker is ‘hurkle-durkling’, which is 18th-century Scottish slang for lounging about, or lying in bed when it’s long past the time to get moving.
Tempting, isn’t it? Although there are good reasons not to hibernate, but rather to activate, as our editor Anthea Simmons reminded us in her recent Letter from the Editor. Recalling that we’re over the half-way lockdown hump (hurrah!), here is this week’s daily compilation of:
- A political word to vent our frustrations with our elected representatives;
- A short Shakespearian quote that has passed into common usage, to remind us how much of a debt we owe to him for the expansion and embellishment of our language (and because I suffer from bardolatry);
- An exquisite word from our beautiful language, and
- A ‘mood’ word to help us focus on the positives in life.
Sesquipedalian: given to using long words
“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.”
Measure for Measure, Act II, scene 1
Meraki: to do something with soul, creativity, or love — to put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing (Greek; pronounced: may-rah-kee).
Bliss: perfect happiness; great joy.
Paedarchy: government by children
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves…”
Julius Caesar, Act I, scene 2
Harmonious: tuneful in music; free from disagreement or dissent in life.
Blatteroon: 16th-century-speak for one given to foolish babbling or prattling, i.e. blatteration.
“The robb’d that smiles, steals something from the thief.”
Othello, Act I, scene 3
Puissant – powerful (from French).
Thalassic – relating to the sea.
Throttlebottom: an inept person in public office (from the name of a character).
“And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.”
Twelfth Night, Act V, Scene 1
Inglenook: a space on either side of a large fireplace.
Lollygag: to spend time in an aimless or lazy way.
Braggadocio: an empty boaster and strutting swaggerer. Also used for the bluster and bombast they produce. (16th century).
“Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”
Macbeth, Act I, scene 3
Mistral: a strong, cold, north-westerly wind that blows from southern France into the Gulf of Lion in the northern Mediterranean, typically in winter and spring at the change of the seasons, and usually comes accompanied by clear weather. The name comes from Occitan and means ‘masterly’.
Tranquillity: free from disturbance; calm.
Philodox: from the Greek philos, meaning love, and doxa, meaning glory, a philodox is a dogmatic person who is especially fond of his/her own opinions.
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
Troilus & Cressida, Act III, Scene 3
Limerence: the state of being infatuated with another person.
Felicity: intense happiness.
Conswervative: a conservative politician or other public figure caught doing things that he has denounced on record. (American).
“Action is eloquence.”
Coriolanus, Act III, scene 2
Talaria: a winged sandal (as worn by Hermes in Graeco-Roman art).
Effulgent: shining brightly; radiant.
With thanks to I CAN children’s charity, The Oxford English Dictionary, The Thesaurus, The Phrontistery, Open Source Shakespeare and, particularly for political terms, the always amusing tweets of locution-queen Susie Dent (@susie_dent).
If you missed Week One’s Weird and wonderful words, you can find them ‘here’ and those from Week Two are ‘here’.