“To blunder around a woman’s breasts in a way that does absolutely nothing for her” is to “meadle”, according to The Deeper Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd. “Lemvig” (n.) is the person that you can rely on to do worse than you, and a “fraddam” (n.) is the awkwardly shaped piece of cheese left after grating that enables you to grate your fingers.”
I loved the Meaning of Liff and am at least as partial to the Deeper Meaning of Liff, perversely so since Miss Gubb told us in English class centuries ago never to use the term “deeper meaning.” Something either means something or it does not. It can “also” mean something… or it can mean “many things”… but there is no such thing as “deeper meaning”. For me, it is one of the eternal and unchanging truths that I hold onto, one which helps me distinguish between potential suitors and the dead-in-the-water on the internet dating site. (As does the word “lady”, and those who come from Benoni… but that is another story.)
But Douglas Adams, I am happy to say, was in a class all of his own, and therefore I embrace, unconditionally, the sequel to Liff. Such dedication to making our linguistic lives richer by creating wonderfully outrageous meanings for ordinary place names must be celebrated.
Some of the words are so perfect, one wonders why they are not in the Oxford English Dictionary, and why they were not invented AGES ago.
The adjectives, however, I often find slightly puzzling. Although the definitions are entertaining, using them in a sentence is not for the faint of heart. Not that I am against adjectives. I am perhaps too keen on them, and have to monitor my usage carefully. I am not the addictive type, but when it comes to a good adjective, or even a string of them, I really have to hold myself back.
So, even from an enthusiast, “foffarty” (adj. meaning “unable to find the right moment to leave”) is a bit confounding. As an adjective, it would qualify a noun…. hence… can one speak of a “foffarty” guy, the “foffarty” look, a “foffarty” feeling… how would “foffarty” work in a sentence?
“John’s terror mounted… his aunt’s gaze was like a withering, foffarting grip, and the blue of the day that sparkled just outside the window, in that instant, was another country.”
Or should that be…
“John’s foffarty terror mounted… his aunt’s gaze etc…”
“John was foffarty…”
Hard huh? So, to win a bottle of whisky, take a shot at making sentences with all three adjectives below. If you can do it in one sentence, that will get extra credit. Post entries in comments or send entries to firstname.lastname@example.org; all efforts will be published on the blog and the winner will be announced when I think I have had enough. It should be not much later than May.
Entries will be judged on length; wit; meaning and spelling.
And the three words are:
- swanibost – “completely shagged out after a hard day of having income tax explained to you”
- duntish – “mentally incapacitated as a result of a severe hangover”
- climpy – “allowing yourself to be persuaded to do something and pretending to be reluctant”
I am tempted to say I will send a bottle of whisky of your choice, but I might have to limit this choice to scotch, irish or single malt.