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. …

H for handsome…..

Sometimes, the original meaning of a word is so bloody obvious that you can’t believe that you don’t use it that way any more. Such a word is handsome, which apparently is as it does – a phrase I have never understood. When you realise that handsome used to be …

A jobbernowl……

According to legal statute an idiot is an individual with an IQ of less than 20, an imbecile between 21 and 49 and a moron between 50 and 70. As you cast around for insults it may be worth remembering these categories. But then again, the English language has never …

Dark Cully…….

There is a magnificent book called Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue which appeared sometime in 1811. Within it are some of the most fabulous words you will ever come across. One of them is Dark Cully – which according to Mr Grose is a  married man who keeps a mistress, …