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Word of the Week: Girl

girl with a pearl earring

Last week’s word, ‘perfect’, received a surprisingly animated response. It seems I’m not the only one who silently sub-edits the innocent things that other people say. But, of course, when you encourage a response you leave yourself open to criticism, and so it turned out. (more…)

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Word of the Week: Perfect

Ford Prefect

I went to hire a car the other day and the girl in the office asked me for my name. This is one of the easier questions I get asked in life – certainly a lot easier than the one about whether or not I want to pay extra to reduce the insurance excess – so I raised myself to my full height and confidently told her.

“Perfect,” she said.

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Word of the Week: Riposte

Word of the Week: riposte

The art of the witty riposte is dead.

“No it isn’t!” I hear you cry.

I rest my case. Let me present you with some evidence. I have recently been researching this very subject for a book, which will make you chuckle and chortle when you read it, because there have, indeed, been some very witty ripostes uttered by people from various walks of life over the years. Politicians, writers, actresses, Ethel from Accounts… But here’s the thing: only a very small proportion were uttered this side of 1980.


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Word of the Week: Buffoon

Word of the Week: buffoon

Back in the 19th and early 20th century, when politicians could be quite witty at times, even the fiercest of political rivals resisted the temptation to throw names at one another, preferring instead to inflict more telling cuts with a rapier-like wit. For example, Benjamin Disraeli’s dismissal of William Gladstone as a man who “has not a single redeeming defect”, or Winston Churchill’s description of Clement Atlee as “a modest man, who has much to be modest about”.

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Word of the Week: Time

dandelion - word of the week

I know what you’re thinking: “It’s about time.” Apologies for the lack of a word last week. I was called away to share some octopus in a local tapas restaurant. Mea pulpo.

Sometimes you just run out of time. And just when you think you’ve made time for all the things you need to do, something comes out of the blue and snatches it away in its deliciously salty tentacles. I’m all for spontaneity, as long as I’ve got time to prepare for it. (more…)

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In Words

Word of the Week: Responsibility

Australian dollar

Sometimes when I’m writing this stuff and I find myself putting myself into the story (oh no, there I go again!), I cringe and yearn for those innocent, ego-free days of three years ago when this Word of the Week lark began with a brief, impersonal essay on the word cheese.

There was, as the old saying goes, no ‘i’ in cheese. Fast forward to this week’s word and you’ll notice that there are not one but three ‘i’s in responsibility. Or two if you’re Australian. (more…)

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