December 2005 Archives


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"I can't expect two youngsters like you to find it much fun talking to an old buffer like me."

--The Magician's Nephew, by C. S. Lewis, first published 1955; p, 15 of the 1994 HarperTrophy paperback edition

MW11 says it's British slang for "fellow" or "man", especially "an old man." Dating back to 1749.


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"And tomorrow [...], shalt come over all the castle with me and see the estres and mark all its strength and weakness[....]"

--The Horse and His Boy, by C. S. Lewis, written around 1954; p, 239 of the 1994 HarperTrophy paperback edition

"Estre" isn't in MW3, but the 1913 Webster's defines it as "The inward part of a building; the interior."


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"What coil are you keeping down there, Mullugutherum?"

--The Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis, written around 1953; p, 157 of the 1994 HarperTrophy paperback edition

MW11 says "coil" means "turmoil" or "trouble"; also, I never knew what Shakespeare's "mortal coil" meant--turns out it refers to (as MW11 puts it) "everyday cares and worries."


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They lammed each other on the head with great clumsy stone hammers.

--The Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis, written around 1953; p, 83 of the 1994 HarperTrophy paperback edition

Turns out it means "to beat soundly."


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The basename is dirified (spaces replaced by underscores, other punctuation removed) in order to create a valid URL.

--Movable Type 3.2 User Manual: Entry basename

Anil Dash says: "Dirified just means that it gets rid of any characters or symbols that couldn't appear in a directory name, and then shortens the whole thing about 15 characters." The term appears to be in very limited use.


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The winning streak for this veritable show continues through its fourth year.

--Amazon's editorial review of The West Wing: The Complete Fourth Season DVD

It's so show-like that it's practically a show!

Presumably they mean "venerable."


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For the Lord shall shod us in hooves of bronze and horns of iron[...]

--Hitherby Dragons: Remnants (III/IV)

"shod" is actually the past tense of "shoe," so "shall shod" is a misuse.


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'Puddleglum,' they've said, 'you're altogether too full of bobance and bounce and high spirits.[...]'

--The Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis, written around 1953; p, 76 of the 1994 HarperTrophy paperback edition

Don't recall ever seeing this word elsewhere, and it's not in MW3 (Unabridged!). But Webster's 1913 has it: bobance is defined as "a boasting." The Free Dictionary also lists bobance, with a quote for reference:

"We have had enough bobance and boasting," said Hordle John, rising and throwing off his doublet.

--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company

In the beginning

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I keep coming across new-to-me words, unusual phrases and constructions, and other small items of potential philological interest. And I don't really have anywhere to put 'em.

So I'm gonna start keeping them in this here blog.

Feel free to post comments saying that you've seen an item before, or that you haven't, or that it's a common construction where you come from, or similar phrases, or whatever else you feel like saying.

I may later invite others to join me in this endeavor. For now, it's just an experiment.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2006 is the next archive.

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