I'll bet you've all been talking about pelmets lately. Why wouldn't you be? "Pelmet", as everyone knows, is that word for "those things that cover curtain tops". Though no-one calls them "curtain top covers", because why would anyone call curtain top covers "curtain top covers" when a perfectly wonderful word like "pelmet" exists?
"Pelmet" is not the only word of that sort we have in English; our language is large and commodious and accommodates words for nose blowers ("handkerchiefs"), personal car parking spaces ("garages"), houses for dogs ("kennels"), and so on and so on and so on. All perfectly lovely words, I'm sure, and we've all had call for them from time to time.
But a revelation struck me the other day when I was looking for the bottle opener: the bottle opener, as everyone knows, even if they don't particularly want to open a bottle at this time, is just called the "bottle opener". It's as if English - which had previously furnished itself with wonderful words such as "pelmet" and "balustrade" and "banister" and "sprocket" - had run out of space, or just couldn't bother anymore, or something. I'm not quite sure why, as bottle openers could have a superb word with a little effort: "Unbeflambulator", perhaps, or "Inklejack". Nor is the bottle opener the only item to have missed out on its own word in English: what about toilet roll holders ("printchers"?)
"Door knob", I confess to being a perfectly lovely literal description of the knobs that you find on doors, so perhaps in cases such as this we will not wish to come up with a word: but what of other important concepts, such as the bits of pillows that slip out of the pillowcasing ("Dilmitties")? Or the bits on long-sleeved shirts that hold your elbows ("sprills")? Veering into the slightly more esoteric, ought we not consider the stripes on zebras ("zilps"?) or the spots on giraffes ("stridulumps"?) Or, for that matter, the satisfied sounds animals make when they go to bed - perhaps cats "uzzle", and dogs "wumper"?
It is certainly not a matter of lack of invention or inattention to specific details: English once had a word for "walking while smoking a pipe" - "lunting" - which sounds so wonderful that I want to get myself a pipe now.
I could go on with more examples of detailed concepts English needs specific words for, but I think you get the idea. I will therefore leave you all with a concept for you to find a word for -
"the sound made when a man meditatively strokes his beard"
- and a word looking for a concept to describe:
Love to hear what everyone's suggestions are! In the meantime, I'm off for a lunt!
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2018 (28)
- ► 2017 (40)
- ► 2016 (71)
- If the Romantics were grumps
- Emoticon poem
- Four short stories
- Achievement of the day, memorialised for all time ...
- Printchers, stridulumps, inklejacks, and lunt-take...
- The war between those who favour occasional non-ch...
- A comfortable poem
- How to do algebra: the creative writing approach
- Mansplaining the manspread
- WELCOME TO FUTUROPOLIS. START DRIVING.
- ▼ June (11)
- ► 2014 (135)
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- ► 2011 (261)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- ► 2008 (316)
- ► 2007 (392)
- ► 2006 (373)
- ► 2005 (287)