Category Archives: new old words


Sometimes rectitude gives way to what-the-hecktitude. There are times when you just can’t even. Your even-canning factory has burnt down to the ground. You don’t want this, don’t want that, especially don’t want that other thing. When the world’s pain-in-the-necktitude has raised your calling-for-the-chequetitude, when your attitude has no more latitude for platitude, you have had a peak in your nectitude. Continue reading


“I know you’re lying. You’re talking funny.” Continue reading


We went to the fancy outdoor food court in front of Union Station to have fancy hot dogs and watch a movie. We got there 45 minutes before movie time and all the seats were already taken. We bought our fancy hot dogs anyway and Aina’s burst hot liquid on her and scalded her and mine ejected its sauerkraut and mustard mid-bite. It was, we may say, a disappointment.

So, suddenly at liberty, we checked the ferry schedule. We made it on time to the next ferry to Ward’s Island, and an hour after our downtown disappointment we were on the beach on the island for the first time this summer. The water was flood-level high but the weather was beautiful and it wasn’t crowded. Aina frolicked in the waves and I stood and observed the deepening cyans and magentas of the hour before a summer sunset on the lake. And then we went to the cute café by the lawn bowling club and had refreshment as an exactly perfect summer evening wrapped itself around us like a friendly cat.

It was, we may say, a surappointment. Continue reading


Ugh! What is this nasty, disgusting, loathsome word? How do you even say this? It starts with a and a bumping bellies in an apparent fight over which gets to attach to the rest. It’s like it was going to be bely and then the gave it the lie and gazumped the whole thing. And though the keeps the first position, we end up saying the – because, unlike Ancient Greeks (and many other people), we are constitutionally opposed to saying [bd] at the start of a syllable. Our tongues simply… abdicate. (That bd is across a syllable break, so it’s OK.) And then we have the echoing y’s like twin tornadoes or, perhaps, cesspits. And the like an upside-down y, and the to complete the set of blunt, grunting, burbling, gargling voiced stops. Why. Just why.

Would you like to know who’s responsible for this mess, where it came from and how it came to be on your screen squinting up at you like some kind of tangle of mudworms? Perhaps a nice hate-read? Continue reading


Summer, at last, has arrived. In ecdysiastic frenzy the denizens of my city are reaching what’s left of the beach and commencing estivation. And whether or not a sunburn appeals to them, it will be time for desquamation: peeling and prying off the scales of winter sartorial defence, the scales of emotional self-protection, the scales of busy-ness with business, the scales on which we weigh our winter weight. The scales of home and job, too, for it is time for a vacation: to get up and go somewhere – anywhere but here.

Or, for some, it will be time for nusquamation: to go nowhere. Continue reading

phryganimous, garrigous

There are people who are like a tropical shower, sweeping through and drenching all around. If they are disposed to humour, you may even be literally showered by spray from their lips and perhaps by a splash from their glass. Some people find such social hydration refreshing. Some need it often; others can absorb it occasionally like succulents and then go without until the next party or conference. Some people find it altogether excessive and retreat to seek dryness before they drown.

Today’s words are for people exactly not like those passing showers. The people they describe are much better for those who require aridity. Continue reading

Tory spring

You know what an “Indian summer” is, I presume, though it’s a phrase I would avoid using (and one that isn’t used as much these days): A bit of fall that is recidivistically warm – which is to say, a few days that might make you think summer isn’t over yet, though it is. Well, have you heard of a “Tory spring”? Continue reading