Tag Archives: English language

Can I Have A Word?

17 Mar
Neologism generator

Neologism generator (Photo credit: Peter Forret)

Yesterday’s word was mundify: to cleanse, deterge (yes, that is a real word), purge or purify.  In other words, what I need to do after watching the Jeremy Kyle or Jerry Springer shows.

Try as I might, I couldn’t fit today’s word into a reblog about household tips, so I have given it a post of its own:


Because I don’t like you coming here and not working, I’m going to give you a task.

If you’ve been around here a while, you may have noticed I play fast and loose with the English language, coining new words for convenience and then never using them again.

There is one word, however, which I invented and which I continue to use, in the hope that one day I will come across it somewhere at random, entirely unrelated to me, and know that I am the mother of a successful neologism.
My word is:


To be inept in the use of modern technology; one who is inept in the use of modern technology (specifically, her new mobile phone, eighteen months old, and of which she realised only recently, despite using it every day, that it was a touch screen). 

"Technology has exceeded our humanity"

“Technology has exceeded our humanity” (Photo credit: Toban B.)

Here is your task:


Tell me what word you have invented, with its definition and a sentence demonstrating its use.*

If you haven’t invented a word, now’s your chance!
My sentence:
I can’t turn this blasted phone on [sounds of smashing pink technology].  I am such a [insert swear word of choice; I don’t, so I can’t.  More work for you] technept!

N Is For A Number Of Things

26 Sep

Another in my occasional series, The A To Z Of The Laughing Housewife.


N (Photo credit: chrisinplymouth)

N Is For A Number Of Things

Normal Service Has Been Resumed

Headache has more or less gone and I’m back to blogging as usual, except…there are

Not Enough Hours In The Day

To allow me to catch up with your comments and blogs and to comment on yours.  Also, I’m

Not Feeling Great At The Computer At The Moment

I find that lately I’m struggling to spend my usual time at the computer, because my eyes burn with tiredness.  Basically, I’m feeling


I’m waking early; I’m nodding off around ten at night and sleeping well, but feel like I’ve had none when I wake up.  I’m also


A lot in the afternoons.

Nice Choice Of Language From An English Graduate

Sorry about the earlier vulgarity – Knackered.  For those who don’t know the meaning, it has several, one of which doesn’t apply in a family friendly blog, so I won’t include it:

  • Exhausted
  • Reprimanded
  • Broken

The first and third go back to the Knacker’s Yard – a place to send  worn-out horses for slaughtering.

If you didn’t understand Joke 548, re-read it with this explanation in mind.

So when I said

Normal Service Has Been Resumed

I was exaggerating a little because that is patently

Not True.

Your comments are still unanswered and your blogs unvisited.  You know, I’m

Not Keen On The Letter N.

It’s a big fat fibber.

L0066542 CO2 gas-powered artificial arms

L0066542 CO2 gas-powered artificial arms (Photo credit: wellcome images)

Now, I Just Want To Mention One Thing:

Do you read the comments other readers leave?  Even though I don’t always answer them, I always read them.  You should, too; they are often funnier than the posts.  

This morning, in response to today’s joke, Katherine Trauger told me the bizarre story of her friend:

We know a guy with an artificial arm…he lost his original arm while trying to escape from prison — he was shot…While he was in prison the second time, his original artificial arm was stolen from him. 

You couldn’t make it up.

News For Bloggers 

If you are going to be in London on 8-9 November, you might be interested to know that the British Arts Festival Association is offering free tickets to their conference for all bloggers.  Visit the website for details: http://www.artsfestivals.co.uk/bafa-events

Normal Service Will Be Resumed, I Promise.

Eventually.  I’d gnaw off my arm before I let you down.

Echoes from the Deep

8 Jun

Less humour, more information today.  Or, if you’re reading this in America, less humor, more information today.  Does my English spelling irritate you?  I confess, American spelling used to make my teeth itch until I took The Open University course U210 about the English language and discovered a) I was a language snob and b) America changed spellings after 1776 as a continuation of the Revolution.  A sort of Declaration Against The Pedants.  That was when I forgave you for dropping the extraneous ‘u’.  Or shold that be extraneos ‘**‘?

I’m losy at softening yo p, aren’t I? 

I want you to pay close attention to the next bit, because it is about my beloved firstborn, Tory Boy, who is hardly ever mentioned these days because he’s too busy living his life to call his mother.  And that’s as it should be, the books say.  Stupid books.  He does at least call when he wants something, so I’m grateful for that.  I’m a mother; I have no pride. 

What he wants – and even asked politely – is for me to tell you about his latest project.  For those who are fairly new here, Tory Boy is a politics student who intends to rule the world one day (teachers be warned: you’re off to Antarctica), but he has been temporarily sidetracked by radio.  Or is it a sidetrack…?  If you want to conquer the world, the airwaves are a good place to start.

Tonight, Tory Boy is producing a live radio play for Bailrigg FM, Lancaster University’s campus radio station, and he would like to attract more than five listeners (students have the irritating habit of going out on Friday nights) so, if your ears are free and you want to prove you are slavishly devoted to me, check it out: http://www.bailriggfm.co.uk/

The play starts at nine p.m. UK time.  You can check how that relates to your time zone by clicking http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/

Here’s the blurb:

Echoes From The Deep: A Bailrigg FM Production.  Written by Tim Mackworth-Praed.  The first radio play to air on Bailrigg FM in over five years. 
Echoes from the Deep is the story of Annie Lensman, a woman attempting to deal with life’s problems as she ages.  Throughout the play she is comforted by the many tales of her Uncle Walter, a benevolent figure who provides continual support. 
Told in two halves, the play focuses on three stories brought to life by Uncle Walter:  one fantastical and poetic tale told when Annie is a little girl;  a caustic and unnerving story told when Annie is a teenager; and a psychological and tragic story told to the now middle-aged Annie. However, Uncle Walter has a sadness of his own to address…


Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?  And as this is a personal favour to me, I will eat a Malteser in honour of every person who tells me they listened.  And another for those who actually did listen.


There you go, son!  Will you visit me now?





Lost In Translation

16 Aug
South Africa

Image by ShayneG via Flickr

Are you driven by your head or your heart?

Neither. It’s usually the Hub, as I don’t have a licence.

That reminds me of some South African-speak: Afrikaans traffic cops who speak English better than I ever spoke Afrikaans, were renowned for asking the drivers they stopped, Did you got a licence?

Another favourite of mine, which I know I’ve shared before but it makes me laugh so much I have to share it again, is the Afrikaans for ‘christening’, doop diens.  It translates literally as ‘dip service’.

If you don’t find that funny I have to ask, did you got a sense of humour?

Can anger be constructive?

This prompt made me so mad I decided to write about it.

Do you blog anonymously or do you blog as “yourself” and why?

I am semi-anonymous in that I use a pseudonym, but as all of my comments and subscriptions use my email address with my actual name, it’s not hard to discover who I am, if you feel so inclined.

Why an alias?

Because I don’t want to embarrass my son, the future Prime Minister and World Despot and my son, the future not sure yet but bound to be successful and famous because he is my son, after all.

Time For A Sort Out

21 Jun
Antony and Cleopatra

Image by UMTAD via Flickr

Straightening up my inbox, I discovered a pile of unanswered WordPress prompts.  I am determined to answer them all.  Eventually.

The picture is of my classroom, way back in 1982.



Write about your least favourite teacher.

I’ll call him Mr Handle, because his name was Lever.  I don’t want to use his real name because I have no wish to libel him, although I’m telling the truth.  If he’s still alive, he will be finding it hard to get a job and I don’t want to make things worse by telling you he was mean and snide and not as smart as he thought he was.

He was all of those things but the root cause of him being at the top of my Least Favourite Teacher list (or perhaps bottom of my Most Favourite Teacher list?) was that he got something wrong: I wrote an A Level English essay on Anthony and Cleopatra, in which I used the word ‘amoral’.  He marked me down because ‘there is no such word; only moral or immoral, stupid girl.’  He didn’t say that last bit but I knew he was thinking it.

I went away and checked a dictionary:



1. not involving questions of right or wrong; without moral quality; neither moral nor immoral.
2. having no moral standards, restraints, or principles; unaware of or indifferent to questions of right or wrong: a completely amoral person.
It’s from Dictionary.com because I can’t access the OED.  But here’s the important bit:
1880–85; a6 + moral

I hadn’t made it up or imagined it; it was a real word, older than me, older than my school, almost as old as him.  Sadly, I was eighteen and scared of everything, so I didn’t take my basic school dictionary and slap him around the head with it to prove him wrong.  

I’ve never forgiven him for that lost mark.  And I didn’t take My A Level English exam until sixteen years later.  That’ll teach him.



Some Words

29 Oct
Rendezvous with John Hurt at Fnac des Ternes (...

Image via Wikipedia

Bitch.  That’s what Plinky Prompts says I should write about today – my favourite word.  I love the sound of it, the way it bursts out of my mouth like an alien from John Hurt’s stomach.  Titch or itch or twitch; rich, witch, which; glitch/hitch/stitch – not even pitch, switch or ditch come close to the satisfying pop of the lips that saying bitch gives.

Sadly, I can’t use it; I’m a good girl.  I don’t swear: except at the Hub in an argument; but I defy anyone to live with the Hub and not swear at him.  It can’t be done.  Nor is it possible to avoid arguing with him in the first place.   We were squabbling the other day when Matt the Finisher was here and the Hub said to him, ‘Don’t get married, mate.’  To which I unfortunately replied, ‘Yeah,  do all women a favour.’  When he started crying I had to backpeddle quickly and explain that I meant men in general, not him in particular because I’m sure he is a very nice young man who can fix anything in the house and I bet he could catch mice; Barbara Cartland once said pinkly, ‘There’s simply no equality when it comes to mice.’  By this time the Hub was rolling in the aisle make him pay for it later and I gave a How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? shrug and retired to my kitchen.

Another favourite word is solipsism.  Also another one I can’t use, but this time because I can never remember its meaning, no matter how many times I look it up.

According to Dictionary.com:


1. Philosophy.  The theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.
2. Extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one’s feelings, desires, etc,; egoistic self-absorption.

I’d say that describes every blogger on the planet.*  

*I know I don’t have to apologise for that one because the paucity of comments lately means that I can prove my readers don’t exist.**

**Except for slp and Viv, of course; thank you, dear readers.

The first time I came across the word solipsism, I wrote it on my A Level English folder, meaning to look it up later.  My tutor noticed it and said, ‘There’s a word.’  Then walked away and never mentioned it again.

Proving that sometimes it’s better to believe – to paraphrase The Sex Pistols – I am a solipsist.


Looking for a suitable photo, I came across this website: http://www.moviedeaths.com/alien/kane/.  I thought I was a nerd – I have seen every episode of every series of Star Trek, you know; more than once – but these people are something else.  You should take a look at the comments. 

It’s actually a pretty useful site.  I have never seen any of the Alien films and it gave me some interesting details, such as Hurt’s character’s name, and where he was at the moment of death: a sort of latter-day Kane and Table.***

***Pun. – noun.

1. A deliberate infliction of the wince factor on one’s faithful readers.  Punishable by desertion in droves, leading to the belief (correct) that only the self exists in one’s personal blogosphere.

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