Sorting through shelves the other day, I happily re-discovered my copy of The Meaning of Liff, by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd (Pan Books and Faber & Faber, 1983). Essentially a dictionary of words that are not words but should be. They are, in fact, place names in Great Britain that (as Adams and Lloyd write in the introduction): “…spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places.”
They go on to say—
“Our job, as we see it, is to get these words down off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society.”
To which I say hear, hear! Bloody lazy words. (And with so many things out there in need of a few well arranged letters to define them…)
For example, a few under ‘A’:
Aberystwyth (n.): A nostalgic yearning which is in itself more pleasant than the thing being yearned for.
Abilene (adj.): Descriptive of the pleasing coolness on the reverse side of the pillow.
Ahenny (adj.): The way people stand when examining other people’s bookshelves.
Ardslingnish (adj.) Adjective which describes the behaviour of Sellotape when you are tired.
Aynho (vb.) Of waiters, never to have a pen.
Is is just me or does the whole world suddenly feel a teensy bit more coherent?