Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Uxbridge English Dictionary

From time to time, I like to play Uxbridge English Dictionary. It’s a game from ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’ (new series starts on Radio 4 next Monday), taking an educational look at our mother tongue.

English is a rich and varied language, but there’s often confusion between apparently similar terms. For example, a lot of people don’t know the difference between adverse and averse. But anyone who takes the trouble to look them up will discover that adverse means harmful or unfavourable, whereas averse is the less catchy bit between choruses.

But meanings are constantly changing, so here are some new definitions I’ve spotted recently:

  • Abominable – practice frowned upon by all but the most aggressive of matadors
  • Accomplish – one who aids and abets Sean Connery
  • Admin – contribute the least
  • Apollo – Roman god of chicken
  • Appearing – an iPhone app that pierces your ear while you talk on it
  • Balderdash – the rapid receding of a hairline
  • Canada – a snake in a tin
  • Category – an allegory about a cat (q.v. Allegory – a category of alley)
  • Cauterise – what I did just before she looked away with disdain
  • Cognac – to trick a long-haired Himalayan beast
  • Dysentery – what the seeds of dissent eventually grow into
  • Exist – person who is prejudiced against their former lovers
  • Hackney – IRA punishment before the invention of guns
  • Hammersmith – the legend of Mj√∂llnir, weapon of the mighty Thor
  • Laxity – a rural area
  • Lymph – mythical woodland seductress with a sore leg
  • Mailbag – scrotum
  • Phobia – not real ale
  • Polymath – if Janet has two parrots and John has three parrots…
  • Post-it – girl who was once fashionable, now of very little note (q.v. Exit – recently fashionable girl now on her way out)
  • Psychotic – nervous twitch that makes you stab people
  • Pumpkin – commit incest
  • Rampart – part of a ram
  • Rueful – a traffic jam in France
  • Seamstress – the consequence of an over-generous lunch
  • Transsubstantiation – providing evidence of one’s sex change
  • Treacle – deforestation
  • Unleavened – the condition of trees in autumn
  • Vagrant – taxi driver’s conversation
  • Watershed – outdoor water closet
  • Wednesday – ‘At what hour does the sun rise?’

Your turn...

13 comments:

Andrew King said...

goblet - small mouth

roulade - kangeroo fat (essential ingredient in Australian cuisine)

Andrew King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew King said...

incontinent - not on an island

tensile - Ireland, after the credit crunch

retard - very hard, in Yorkshire

Nick said...

Tabouleh- Sexual encounter you don't want to talk about

Lavatory- Cockney environmental slogan.

Andrew R said...

startling - plant some heather

furnish - sort of frondy

baccarat - to risk a punt in the exciting world of rodent steeplechase

portable - badly constructed piece of furniture

frolic - the guitar riff which accompanies the hero's strut through Harlem in the opening credits of blaxploitation movie.

John E said...

Berk: a member of the House of Lords with a penchant for country hunts
Arapaho: (sometimes ho-ho-ho) a Clausal greeting from Santa to a little helper
Catarrh: a Flemish stringed instrument
Chimpanzee: an area of the Netherlands reclaimed from the sea by monkeys
Forecastle: a naval expletive
Forensic: undigested food left by overseas visitors
Handicap: a golfer’s headgear with a long peak useful for shading the sun’s glare
Maritime: a wedding date
Multiple: Scotch whisky, heated and spiced
Paradox: a dog and a bitch
Pensive: a device for separating pens from pencils
Plaything: a drama
Reliant: a robin
Stirrup: a provocation
Tit for tat: a fertility rite on Ilkley Moor
Titivating: a woman’s decision not to have sex before marriage (believed to be of Yiddish origin)

John E said...

|uyder Zee: a remote area of the Somerset coast

John E said...

bacchanalian: to support a plea for asylum

roparom said...

mockery - rather like a chocolate coffee

adventure - a 365 day lead-up to christmas

disgusting - arguing in a Jafaican accent

John E said...

Bishopric; a comedy award for actresses

Anonymous said...

Castanets - what Italian fisherman do!

The Wordman of Alperton said...

You haven't seen my dictionary: The Other Dictionary. http://www.theotherdictionary.info

Anonymous said...

Election - a Chinese hard-on.

Conciliatory - hide s Conservative MP.