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Vitamin Q: the book!

~ Thursday, October 09, 2003
 
LIFF REVISITED Part 2

In the book The Meaning of Liff (Pan 1983), John Lloyd and the late, lamented Douglas Adams used place names to give words to the 'many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist'. Here at VitQ, with a tip of the hat to Lloyd and Adams, I decided to contrive new Liff-style definitions, so here are some more to add to those last month:

BAGBY - a frightening and unwieldy bra which more resembles an instrument of torture

BALMULLO (n) - an awkward sensation caused by knowing something unpleasant (someone being sacked, a boil being lanced) is happening right now in the next room

BOATH (vb) - to steel oneself eg for an injection or a washing machine repair man's estimate

CHETTLE (vb) - to stand there wondering why a fly flies round and round the light fitting

CRIEFF (n) - a specialised type of fine, statically-charged dust which attaches itself to a television screen

FOBBING (participial vb) - running one's thumb-nail round a roll of sticky tape, searching ever more desperately for the cut end

FOOLOW (vb) - to not know the words of a song but to mumble along to it nevertheless

FOXUP (n) - a loud and lengthy argument about hunting between two people with exactly the same views on the subject but who don't want to let that interfere with the pleasure of arguing

GREAT WITLEY (n) - a hilarious joke which somehow isn't hilarious when you try to tell it

GRIMINISH (n) - a rarefied and confusing form of the English language in which computer error messages are composed

GRITLEY (n) - a specific mixture of anxiety and territorial indignation experienced only by the elderly and brought on by having booked train seats

HIDCOTE BOYCE (n) - the modern female social faux pas of not showing one's underwear in public

JOHNBY (n) - the special wave given to one another by bus drivers

KELTY (n) - a piece of clothing which no longer fits or suits you but which you keep due to its part in a memory of a notable bedroom encounter

LEUCHARS (pl n) - the tiny, white congealed pieces which swirl in coffee when the milk has turned

LITTLE PETHERICK (n) - A small measure. One little petherick is the tiny discrepancy between wanting to join a political protest and not wanting to be seen with the sort of people who protest, which keeps you at home listening to the radio

LUCKETT (vb) - to sound like Coldplay yet still sell like hot cakes

LUXULYAN (n) - a pink, tooth-rotting chemical liquid being marketed as a 'juice drink sensation'

MALCOLM'S POINT (n, math.) - This mathematical theorem describes the relationship between the space given to an ingredient on packaging and the actual amount in the food within eg the delicious picture of chunks of gammon and the large word HAM on a 'Cheese and Ham Slice' and the tiny words 'ham (4%) on the ingredients list

MENABILLY (n rare) - a short-lived musical genre (circa 1973-4), a cross between rockabilly and Welsh male voice choir singing, the best remembered example being Valley Cat by The Teds of Tredegar

MIDDLEZOY (n dial.) - Yorkshire term for a middle child, one who can lay no claim to the winsome terms 'our eldest' and 'the babby of t' family'

PLAXTOL (adj, vb) - jaunty; to jauntily drum along with music (derived from the technical percussion term for the clappy bit in the Friends theme tune)

PLUMSTEAD (n) - the sort of pompous middle aged man who shows himself a fool by declaring that he 'doesn't suffer fools gladly'

RAGNALL (n) - the one tattered magazine used as bait by a bogus Big Issue seller

SKIPWITH (n) - a recent form of frothy repetitive jazz music invented solely for use in the dull bits of DIY and antiques programmes

SLAD (vb) - to be wilfully obese

TRISLAIG (n) - the trinity of wide-brimmed hat, salt-and-pepper beard and checked cream shirt worn at jazz gigs and weekend parties by newly-retired, middle class men

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