Do bees buzz?……

In Albanian, Danish, English, Hebrew and Polish, to name just a few languages, bees make a buzzing sound, and cats miaow. However, no language but English seems to think that owls go ‘tu-whit, tu-woo’ or a cockerel goes ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’. And not everyone agrees about the birds and the bees either: …

I am passionate about….

Advertisers and politicians latch on to fashionable words to sell their products – remember vision, excellence, and mission statement? The 2000s have seen a plague of the word passionate, particularly in the more liberal leaning newspapers. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), its main senses are “marked by anger, …

Brendan Behan…..

I have a new book coming out in a few weeks – The Men who stare at Hens published by The History Press. It is intended as an homage to some of the wonderfully dotty individuals of the Emerald Isle. To give you an idea of its content I have posted below …

Kalsarikännit……..

I’ve just discovered that there is a Finnish word for “getting drunk at home in your underwear with no intention of doing anything else”. The word is kalsarikännit. This is important news. At first, I didn’t believe it. There are a lot of amazing-foreign-words-with-sentence-long-definitions that either don’t exist, or only exist …

Lady jesters….

I’ve never liked the word comedienne. I don’t know exactly why, but it bugs me. There’s something about the faux Frenchiness of it. It might be condescendingly sexist, or it might be tediously feminist, and either way it rankles. So I was immensely pleased when I happened across the word …

Window licking…..

It is, perhaps, appropriate that the English word lecher comes from the French for licker, although it may rather cramp the thoroughgoing lecher’s style. The French for lick is still lecher, which is why the French for window shopping is faire du lèche-vitrine, which literally means to go window licking. …