Dear reader, have you ever found yourself in a situation but couldn’t find a proper word for it? Douglas Adams, great writer, deep thinker and genius mind found a perfect solution to this live issue. Having observed that there is a large number of “spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places”, he set out to find a new use for them.
“We started to collect more and more of these words and concepts, and began to realise what an arbitrarily selective work the Oxford English Dictionary is. It simply doesn’t recognise huge wodges of human experience,” wrote Adams. “Like, for instance, standing in the kitchen wondering what you went in there for. Everybody does it, but because there isn’t – or wasn’t – a word for it, everyone thinks it’s something that only they do and that they are therefore more stupid than other people. It is reassuring to realise that everybody is as stupid as you are and that all we are doing when we are standing in the kitchen wondering what we came in here for is ‘woking’.”
His dictionary of spare words is comprised of words that are actually place names in the UK. To each word there is an interesting meaning assigned and it is related to common experiences, feelings and situations. The dictionary is available in its entirety online. You can check it here, you will be surprised upon finding that you are familiar with large number of meanings. Feel free to share your favourite ones with us!
Things that there should be words for but there are not:
FIUNARY (n.) The safe place you put something and then forget where it was.
GRIMMET (n.) A small bush from which cartoon characters dangle over the edge of a cliff.
HAPPLE (vb.) To annoy people by finishing their sentences for them and then telling them what they really meant to say.
KENT (adj.) Politely determined not to help despite a violent urge to the contrary. Kent expressions are seen on the faces of people who are good at something watching someone else who can’t do it at all.
OZARK (n.) One who offers to help just after all the work has been done
SCONSER (n.) A person who looks around then when talking to you, to see if there’s anyone more interesting about.
SITTINGBOURNE (n.) One of those conversations where both people are waiting for the other one to shut up so they can get on with their bit.
WINKLEY (n.) A lost object which turns up immediately you’ve gone and bought a replacement for it.
YESNABY (n.)A ‘yes, maybe’ which means ‘no’.
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