Day 18

4.44: That was not a real amount of sleep. Four or five hours I can manage, but whatever that was really didn’t count. The good news though is that, having given up lolling and twisting like some demented breakdancer in pyjamas, I rise to a world with some new words in it.

The New Oxford American Dictionary has announced that its word of the year is “unfriend,” as in: “After he clubbed my nan with a banjo, I unfriended him on Facebook.”

I’m rather fond of compound words with un- in front of them – I remember being pleased by Alan Hollinghurst describing an “unlooked-for compliment” – and Shakespeare was pretty keen on them too, especially in the noun-becomes-verb form.

A couple that spring to mind are Othello speaking of “my unhoused free condition,” and Macduff describing Scotland as a miserable nation “With an untitled tyrant bloody-sceptered.”

(It’s probably not coincidental that un- words, which begin inevitably with an unstressed syllable, suit blank verse writing rather comfortably).

Then Milton, another blank verse merchant, frequently puns on the word “delight,” as meaning both to please and to make blind (as in “de-light”). So there.

Some other more irritating words made the shortlist for these lexicographical Brit Awards (I suppose I should say Grammy Awards), though I do like “deleb,” meaning a dead celebrity. Never let it be said that Heat magazine has nothing to teach us.

6.30: It’s on the front page of today’s Times but, on the Today Programme, MCC Chief Executive Keith Bradshaw just categorically denied that the naming rights for Lords are up for sale. I think a purist or two might be irked if the home of cricket came to be known as The Sheilas’ Wheels Car Insurance Pleasuredrome.

6.50: I’ve consumed approximately 2mls of coffee per word this morning: 1000 words rattled off; 2 litres of the black stuff slugged back. I’m not sure whether to be more proud of my prolific writing or my strong bladder. At least I won’t come back tomorrow to discover everything the bladder did was rubbish.

~ by David Thorley on November 18, 2009.

One Response to “Day 18”

  1. […] year’s word was annoying too: unfriend, but at least it referred to something people actually did. Never shy to repeat on of my own jokes, […]

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