Some words just stand out. Some are used in a particular context or situation; others are memorable in their own right. Here are a few that have attracted my attention over the years. Consider this a sort of half-arsed episode of Call My Bluff…
AnonTo me, anon feels like a word that’s somehow survived from medieval times. In much the same way as crocodiles have survived from the dinosaur era. Anon has been said to me by only three people: my friend David who lives a couple of doors up the road, has a TARDIS in his living room and was just yesterday standing outside my house with a purple cloak and wearing a too-small tricorn hat (no, really); my friend Phil, with whom I cycle (generally trailing him by some distance if we’re going up a hill); the inimitable Mr Ian Watson, at a convention. I have used the word myself on occasion, but only in emails – I’ve never quite had the nerve to use it face-to-face. Maybe if I was wearing a suit of armour…
adverb archaic or informal
soon; shortly: I’ll see you anon.
GlisterI first came across glister in a novel – unsurprising given its literary positioning. Glister stood out in the text as particularly evocative of something that exuded a beautiful glitteryshimmery effect. I do use it myself from time to time, mainly to describe sunlight reflected off water.
glister |ˈglɪstə| literary
verb [ no obj. ]
ChurlishI first came across churlish in the film Victim starring Dirk Bogarde: “it seemed somewhat churlish not to give him a lift…” (or something like that). This is a superb film set in 1960s Britain about the injustice of punishing gay men for their sexuality, back when homosexuality was still a crime and carried a prison sentence. The law may have changed for the better, but sadly the ingrained prejudices of many are more difficult to overcome. I’ve heard this word used elsewhere on a few other occasions, but not many, and I have been known to use it myself, although never with regard to giving people lifts.
rude in a mean-spirited and surly way: it seems churlish to complain.
RambunctiousI once saw a TV programme in which Dolly Parton described herself as being rambunctious as a little girl. At that time I didn’t know the meaning of the word, but I knew exactly what she meant. Rambunctious – a big sticky toffee of a word that effectively conveys its meaning without effort.
adjective informal, chiefly N. Amer.
uncontrollably exuberant; boisterous.
ThrungeThe word thrunge was conveyed to me by Mr Jim Burns, a former RAF pilot and long-standing SF artist of considerable note. It is apparently used in RAF circles to indicate huge power from jet or rocket engines, among other things with suitable impulse, such as high-powered sports cars. Thrunge. Best said while raising a fist, and followed by blowing a Les Dawson-style raspberry.
adjective informal, chiefly Brit.
extreme power, thrust
So there we have it. A fine selection of words that aren’t used nearly as much as they should be. I suggest you go out and make an impression upon someone with their use as soon as possible. I, meanwhile, will return with another post anon…
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