My mother and
I are avid readers, so much so that we'll cast a glance at any words
that cross our path, from brochures to encyclopedias; from the backs
of cereal boxes to the notices on trains.
For this month,
we decided to play a bit of a word game, and investigate the first
phrase or saying that we came across which was new to us.
one week later, I found my idiom, which turned out to be a single
I came across
this word in author (actor, radio personality, quizmaster, portrayer
of Jeeves, opposite Hugh Laurie's Wooster, in the BBC adaptation
of P. G. Wo-degouse's stories) Stephen Fry's Paperweight, a collection
of stories, essays, transcripts for radio dramas, and other writing.
some of the mundane and unattractive words we have in the English
language ("We in Britain have a word 'mugger' that means exclusively
"one whose profession it is to stop others in the street and
forcibly to relieve them of their possessions") with some of
the more lyrical words that exist in other languages.
I learned, means "the gasp made by one who, walking in the
morning, smells spring in the air for the first time after a long
The word has
not been adopted by English speakers, yet I'm surprised that it
hasn't even been considered by Canadians or, at the very least,
Montrealers. If you live above a certain latitude, you expect winder
to last a long time, and the permafrost not to melt. But here in
Montreal, we're quite close to the American border. We're only a
day's drive from New York City.
Yet our winters
stretch interminably for nearly - no, in actually fact - half the
year. We don winter coats at Hallowe'en and, barring the odd balmy
(say, 0 degrees Celsius) day in March (when everyone goes out in
shorts and sandals), we can't remove them until April.
of a metropolis where we're reduced to ex-citement and sandal-wearing
at the first intimation of a hint of a thought that spring might
be coming, I propose we all adopt the word hevelspending.
After all, it's
a phrase that neatly sums up an action we've performed all our lives
by Deniz B. Bevan:
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Ideas for Your 'Staycation'
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Approaching Ireland by ferry...
Just Plain Nesin