Came across the upright word ‘trig’ in another of Arthur Ransome’s charming children’s adventure stories, Winter Holiday, which I read on suitably cold, blustery nights.

It seems the word is used only in Scotland or in northern English dialect and has a tidy range of meanings including: true, faithful; trustworthy, trusty; active, nimble, brisk, sprightly, alert; or trim or tight in person, shape, or appearance; or of a place, neat, tidy and in good order.

In other words, it describes perfectly your desk, your office, your garage, your life or (and?) your children’s bedrooms.

The children in the story were working to get their sledges in perfect condition to fly across the snow and iced-over lake with a view to racing to the ‘North Pole’, and one of them uses this word:

‘While we get the runners fixed and all trig’. 

I like combining it with ‘trim’ to create a neat, ship-shape alliterative hoppity-hop phrase: ‘trim and trig’.

Could it perhaps stem from ‘trigonometry’, with a suggestion of making sure all your angles and calculations are as they should be?

 

Source: Arthur Ransome, Winter Holiday (London: Vintage, 2012), p. 202; and Oxford English Dictionary online for the range of meanings

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