Words

Sharing words that sparkle, appeal, intrigue or otherwise grab me, including those in other languages. The letter quoted below sums up the exuberant love of words perfectly, as well as being a world class job application.

And adoring alliteration, new words will be added on Wednesdays… Wednesday, word day.   See you back here then.

Palstave

This is a Bronze Age bronze adze-axe.  I really need to bone up on implement naming. Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p. 124

Mathemagician

An intriguing portmanteau word.  I once had a maths teacher who deserved this title.  She was great at maths, certainly, but the magic came in getting a class full of 12 year olds of all capabilities performing years ahead of the norm. While only teaching one double...

Slumgullion

A deliciously awful North American word meaning a cheap or insubstantial stew.  Can't recall what I was reading to come across such a fine description for some kind of soupy slop. Anyhow, it does remind me of the rather thin and institutional-tasting vegetable soup I...

Gollop

A hasty gulp, or to gulp down hastily or greedily.  I wonder if it's a half way mix between 'gobble' and 'gulp'.  Anyhow, next time you are sitting opposite a troughing trencherman, you can say, 'Oh do stop golloping!'

Hachkars (khachkars)

Hachkars (or khachkars) are Armenian stone crosses. 'You encounter these hachkars all over Armenia, for they were the symbols of Armenian existence, or else boundary markers, and also, sometimes, signposts.  You can find old hachkars in the most inaccessible places,...

Patarks

I found this in Ryszard Kapuscinski's Imperium, but can find no other reference to it.  Perhaps the spelling is different, though I have tried variants.  I am now intrigued and would like to hear these haunting, beautiful psalms.  If they exist. 'A kind of Armenian...

Objurgate

Luckily I have rarely been subjected to objurgation.  Doesn't it sound stern?  It means to rebuke or scold severely.  To be used sparingly, though you could ask someone giving you a hard time to 'kindly rein in your objurgatory tone'.

Tantivy

A rapid gallop or ride; a hunting cry; moving or riding swiftly.  May all your dreams tantivy-o!

Chryselephantine

'Chryselephantine' means made of, or adorned with, gold and ivory, as in this figurine.  Only just came across this word though I wonder how I missed it these five decades.  Must be moving in the wrong circles. Chryso- is obviously gold-related and the elephantine...

A covert of coots

A covert is a shelter or a hiding place, from which you might study coots.  It can also refer to a thicket in which game can hide.  Does this aquatic bird hide itself in thickets (or reeds), to be given this collective noun? See also my review of Arthur Ransome's Coot...

A rake of colts

A curious collective noun for young horses. Does their occasional prancing exuberance make them look rakish?

A bask of crocodiles

Delightful collective noun this, suggesting a harmless creature soaking up the sun on a warm mud bank.  Just don't tread on one when it's basking.  Or ever.  And remember:   Row, row, row the boat, gently down the stream, Merrily, merrily, merrily-oh, life is but a...

A murder of crows

A memorable collective noun, though perhaps unfair on the poor old crow.  I have a soft spot for these intelligent and social birds and am not aware that they are any more murderous than other hungry birds.

A cowardice of curs

What a pity we no longer use 'cur' to objurgate someone.   And how appropriate that the collective noun should be 'a cowardice'.  We could perhaps adapt this collective noun to other contexts, as in 'a cowardice of leaders'.

A herd of curlew

The first time I have come across 'herd' as a collective noun for a bird.  Curlews are large wading birds of the sandpiper family, with a long down-curved bill and brown mottled plumage.  They apparently hang out in herds.

Disseverment

The noun of 'dissever', to divide or sever something from something else.  Also 'disseverance'.  Used here in reference to a severely split personality. 'For it is probable that when people talk aloud, the selves (of which there may be more than two thousand) are...

Pinchbeck

Wishing you the real McCoy, not the alloy. 'An alloy invented by Christopher Pinchbeck, looking like gold and used to make cheap jewellery.' Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando, ed. Rachel Bowlby, Oxford: World's Classics, 1992, p. 334

Soilure

A smudge, stain or soiling, or the act of soiling.  May you be free of it in all its guises. '... free from taint, dependence, soilure of humanity or care for one's kind; something rash, ridiculous, like my hyacinth, husband I mean, Bonthrop...' Source: Virginia...

Kine

An archaic plural for 'cows', used here as Orlando gets carried away on a roller-coaster of metaphors. 'She likened the hills to ramparts, to the breasts of doves, and the flanks of kine. She compared the flowers to enamel and the turf to Turkey rugs worn thin.  Trees...

Marl

A sedimentary clay and lime rock or soil which used to be used as a fertilizer: clearly it is this meaning in the Woolf quotation below.   It also refers to a mottled yarn of different colours, or cloth made of this.  'Marly' is the adjective. And enjoy Orlando's...

Teg

A sheep in its second year, between weaning and shearing.  So now nobody can look down their aristocratic nose at you for not knowing a teg from a ewe. And while on the sheep theme, see also: 'hefted', 'shearling' and above all my resplendent review of James...

Wishing you a happy jólabókaflóð!

This lovely word is Icelandic for 'Christmas book flood'.  As you may know, Iceland is home to the world's most committed readers and it has long been a tradition to give books at Christmas.   This leads to a flood of new publications in the preceding months, with a...

The valley of Tempe

The valley of Tempe in Greece is often used in Latin poetry to denote a beautiful place. '... now the vales of Tempe; then the fields of Kent or Cornwall...' Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando, ed. Rachel Bowlby, Oxford: World's Classics, 1992, p. 79 and...

Cressets

One of those things you've probably seen on a hundred old buildings and never noticed.  I think I recently saw - and noticed - some rather ornate wall-mounted versions in the old town of Geneva. 'Iron containers for grease or oil to burn as lamps; usually mounted on...

Purlieus

A rarely used word (at least in the circles in which I move) referring to the area near or surrounding a place, or to one's usual haunts.  Hard to imagine using it nowadays except in jest. 'The street lanterns in these purlieus were few at most... ' '... the irregular...

Bumboat

An unforgettable name for a small vessel carrying goods for sale to ships in port.  The dictionary assures me that 'bum' is in the sense of a 'vagrant' not a part of the British anatomy.  It seems to be of late 17th century origin, and original referred to a boat...

Orgulous

Though this clearly derives from the French orgueil, I had never seen it in this anglicised version.  No wonder, according to the dictionary it had become rare by the 16th century until it was revived by the Victorian writers Robert Southey and Sir Walter Scott as a...

Helve

The handle of a weapon or tool.  Such a simple word, how come I never came across it before?  Did you?

Shim

I've made or used one of these dozens of times but never knew what it was called.  A shim is a washer or a thin strip of material used to align something, or make it fit, or reduce wear.  To shim means to use such a piece of material to fill a gap, as when you wedge a...

Disquisition

A word I have never seen used until now, which seems like a missed opportunity for dressing up your discourse in more eloquent wrapping: a long or elaborate essay or discussion on a particular subject.  By extension, disquisitively describes being in disquisition...

Hodden brown

The notes to Virginia Woolf's Orlando say 'hodden' is a coarse, woollen cloth and the word therefore came to mean a natural, rustic colour, hence 'hodden brown'. And the man whose ruff was 'a thought dirty', who was fat and shabby in his hodden clothes?  Orlando...

Mouldywarp

A curious and endearing term of Middle English origin, but now archaic or dialect only, although deserving revival.  It means a mole, as in the animal who leaves mounds upon your croquet lawn.   Also mouldwarp, or mouldiwarp. The wise and beloved creature in Kenneth...

Wicker cradle, basket pram

A bassinette (generally spelled 'bassinet') was an oblong wicker basket with a hood at one end, used as a cradle or a pram.  Virginia Woolf has them decorating a statue with out-of-control Victorian ornamentation. Crystal Palace was a real glass palace, built by the...

Bombazine

The note in Woolf's Orlando says this was a 'twilled or corded dress material made of silk and worsted; in black, it was much used to make mourning clothes.'   For me it is a word that immediately evokes the whole Victorian era and rustling, dark crinolines. Source:...

Dustsceawung

A sobering if orthographically challenging and barely pronounceable Old English word meaning 'the contemplation of dust'.  Not a question of staring at evidence of your lackadaisical house-cleaning, but rather the contemplation of the remains of the past, and the...

Pightle

An unusually spelled word with that g-h-t-l and a fine glottal stop.  Of obscure Middle English origin meaning a small field or enclosure. I wish you daisies and buttercups in your pightle.

Slummock

Glorious word this, describing a dirty, untidy or slovenly person, or behaving in a lazy, indolent or clumsy way, as in 'You've slummocked in bed for weeks'.   'Stop slummocking, will you?' Now, where did I find this word?  I'm too lazy to go and find out. May you...

Caracole

Literally, a half turn made by a horse to the left or the right, which can also be a verb, 'to caracole'.   Deriving from the 17th century French 'caracole' meaning a snail's shell or spiral.  I love this figurative use by Virginia Woolf in Orlando, and the word's...

Scrolloping

A portmanteau word created by Virginia Woolf, apparently combining 'scroll' and 'lollop' to describe heavy, florid ornament, or a rambling mode of speech, namely, 'proceeding in involutions, rambling'. 'For when he tore the parchment across, he tore, in one rending,...

Care for a corantoe?

A French dance, identical to the 'courante', with which I trust you are familiar.  The lavolta is also a dance, 'for two persons consisting a good deal in high and active bounds'. Don't attempt this at home without adult supervision. 'Orlando, it is true, was none of...

Hefted

The sheep are ‘hefted’, taught a sense of belonging to a place by their mothers when they are lambs.   They never lose the memory of that place, such as a specific hill-side.

A scrawny, buttermilk-faced young besom

A besom is a broom made of twigs tied around a stick, though in Scottish & Northern English it's also a derogatory term for a woman or girl. 'A scrawny, buttermilk-faced young besom, allus askin' questions an' pokin' tha' nose where it wasna' wanted.'   Source:...

Graidely or gradely

Graidely seems an alternative spelling to 'gradely' which means fine and good; promising and likely; being in good health or physically attractive; fitting and proper. "He's took a graidely fancy to thee.  He wants to see thee and he wants to see Soot an' Captain."  ...

Fair moithered

Bothered or bewildered.  'Moither' can also mean to ramble or speak in a confused way. 'Mother's a good-tempered woman, but she gets fair moithered.'   Source: Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, illus. Inga Moore (London: Walker Books, 2009) (1911), p....

An abundance of afflatus

A divine creative impulse or inspiration, from Latin afflare, 'to' plus 'to blow'. Wishing you an abundance of afflatus.   Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p. 11

Daffydowndilly

Another and charming word for 'daffodils', which are also more commonly referred to as 'daffs'. "Crocuses an' snowdrops an' daffydowndillys.  Has tha' never seen them?"   Source: Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, illus. Inga Moore (London: Walker Books,...

Bombinate

A beautiful bumble-bee buzzing about.  The dictionary insists this is a literary term for to 'buzz or hum' but such a round, friendly sound deserves more widespread use. For example, there are three trees in front of me that are full of tiny blossoms and every spring,...

Scramasax

A large knife with a single-edged blade, found among Anglo-Saxon grave goods, used for hunting and fighting. ‘I’ve heard of a Varangian grown too old to raise shield or scramasax.' Source: ‘Harald in Byzantium’, The Breaking Hour, Kevin Crossley-Holland (London:...

Jantelagen

A Swedish word used in the north of England – the unwritten rule that forbids anyone to feel or act superior to his or her neighbour.

Acuminate

A leaf tapering to a point; could we use it to encourage people to get to the point: ‘Oh for goodness sake, why can’t you just acuminate?’

Skobby

Another word for 'chaffinch', though it seems obsolete.  Not that this should prevent our reviving it, it has a charming, affectionate sound. Source: Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals, ed. and introduction by Pamela Woof (Oxford: Oxford World’s...

Fretted

This use of 'fretted' seems to mean worn or damaged by weather, and 'teazed' is an old spelling of 'teased', here apparently meaning pulled or damaged. I know what she means about the weeds... we have bad hair days, bad garden days, glad to know that even the...

Clapping linen

This seems to mean something like smoothing out and folding linen, though it would baffle people now. 'Mary walked to Ambleside for letters, it was a wearisome walk for the snow lay deep upon the Roads & it was beginning to thaw.  I stayed at home & clapped the small...

Pulling apples

Wordsworth uses this term several times - apparently an obsolete term for picking or gathering apples. 'We pulled apples after dinner, a large basket full.'  Sunday 12 October 1800. Source: Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals, ed. and introduction...

Flowering and marking

Dorothy Wordsworth refers to 'flowering and marking', meaning to embroider identification signs on linen.  I recently bought some wonderful, secondhand and fine quality bedlinen, with flowers and monograms beautifully embroidered along the top edge of what appear to...

Scrimshank

A playful, crunchy sounding word. Edmund de Waal uses this to suggest all over the place, at random: ‘bricks are piled scrimshanks’.   However, the dictionary refers to a ‘scrimshank’ as one who shirks their duty, especially someone in the armed forces.

Jouncing

Jolting or bouncing, an apparently neat melding of both words. ‘Glaring at me staring at him / jouncing on her right wrist.' Source: ‘Girl with hawk’, The Breaking Hour, Kevin Crossley-Holland (London: Enitharmon Press, 2015), p. 65

Anagnorisis

Normally referring to the moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery, perhaps understanding the real situation for the first time.   I liked Nicolson’s use of it in describing Keats’ discovery of Homer: ‘Keats had read and stared in...

Clàr

Scottish Gaelic: plural clàran.  A dish, three to four feet long, 18" wide, made of deal, with straw or grass on the bottom; a communal dish from which the family ate, with the food crumbs and straw being given to the animals after. Other meanings given by Wiktionary...

Syke (or sike)

Scottish & N. English: Alternative spelling of 'sike' meaning a small stream or rill, typically one that flows through marshy ground and is often dry in summer. Source: Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals, ed. and introduction by Pamela Woof...

Annaid

Scottish: this seems to be bound up with many place names and to refer to an old church which, for one reason or another, was abandoned and subsequently replaced at a different site. Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013...

Tacksman

Scottish: no, not the man who keeps asking you for huge chunks of your hard-earned money.  This refers to a man who holds a tack from another, a tenant.  In Scottish law, a tack is a contract by which something is let, hired or leased to another. 'Tacksman's house.'...

Machair

Machair refers to low-lying arable or grazing land formed near the coast by the deposit of sand and shell fragments by the wind, in Scotland, particularly in the Western Isles. '... the beautiful, easily worked machair of Barra itself.' Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea...

Run-rig

Scottish.  An agricultural system whereby each year narrow strips of arable land were parcelled out among the families of the community, each family receiving different lots each year, as a form of communal fairness. Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life...

Scrutator

Sounds like a cross between a dictator and a screw-ball, or worse.  In fact, a rather vividly awful sounding word for someone who scrutinizes, a scrutineer or invigilator. The dictionary says it is someone with the duty of examining or investigating, or historically...

Scripophily

The hobby of collecting old bond or share certificates. Know any scripophiles?  You could claim to be one the next time you are trying to impress someone at a party.

Lightduress (Lichtzwang)

Another hybrid word coined by the poet Paul Celan – does it refer to a light amount of duress or the duress that light brings to the eye? Source: Edmund de Waal, The White Road, p. 388

Breathturn (Atemwende)

A word coined by the poet Paul Celan.   Edmund de Waal mentions that ‘Celan cannot find words to fit together easily. German is his language, but he is Jewish and German is also the language that killed his family. So Celan brings words together into newness’.   One...

Octothorpe

Another term for the hash symbol, apparently American and dating from the 1970s.   Let’s see if this unleashes a worldwide fad for ‘octothorpe tags’.

Catspaw

Seems to be a type of wind, quite distinct from the more common term of ‘cat’s paw’ which refers to someone used to do someone else’s dirty work.   In Arthur Ransome, however, I found: ‘There was very little wind, though now and again a catspaw hurrying from the south...

Throstle

An old fashioned term for a song-thrush; a machine for continuously spinning cotton or wool. ‘No longer my sweet throstle, attending the sun’s rising.' Source: ‘Grail of ash’, The Breaking Hour, Kevin Crossley-Holland (London: Enitharmon Press, 2015), p....

Poikilometis

Nicolson refers to this word, used to describe Odysseus, and translates it as ‘dapple-skilled, with so much woven into him that he shimmers and flickers like an embroidered cloth’.  If I ever qualify as ‘dapple-skilled’, I will have a big party to celebrate. Source:...

Claggy

Sticky or otherwise inclined to form clots or clods, as in ‘claggy mud’.  A suitably cloying, clotty, cloddy word.  OED suggests it could be of Scandinavian origin, comparing it with a Danish word for ‘sticky mud’, klag.    Given all the rain we’ve had, my next...

Savssats

Savssats ‘occur most often in fjords, where a band of sea ice too wide for marine mammals to swim under on a single breath cuts them off from the open sea.  As the fjord continues to freeze over, the animals are restricted to a smaller and smaller opening in the ice...

Shoat or shote

A North American word for a young pig, especially one which is newly weaned. Source: OED and Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p. 152

Windrows

‘A long line of raked hay, corn sheaves, or peats laid out to dry in the wind.  In North American English: a long line of material heaped up by the wind.’ ‘Windrows of feather from molting geese.’   Source: OED and Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p....

Polynya

Polynya refers to a ‘stretch of open water surrounded by ice, especially in Arctic seas’ or ‘large areas of persistent open water that stay open all winter.’ Source: OED and Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p. 213

Whiffle

‘To make a soft sound, like that of breathing or a gentle wind.  To move or cause to move lightly as if blown by a puff of air. A slight movement of air, or the sound of such a movement. Also ‘whiffle cut’, referring to the very short haircut worn by US soldiers in...

Orographic

I learned some fine landscape words from reading Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams.  Orographic means ‘relating to mountains, especially as regards their position and form.  Or, of clouds or rainfall resulting from the effects of mountains in forcing moist air to rise....

Polyskarthmos

‘Used to describe Myrine, a dancer, ‘much-skipping’ as the word means literally, even ‘very frisky’, as it is a phrase used of calves and lambs playing in the springtime grass.’  I must remember to practice ‘polyskarthmos’ daily. Source: Adam Nicolson, The Mighty...

Growan

A southern English local word for granite, also called ‘moorstone’. Source: Edmund de Waal, The White Road, p. 251

Cock-a-doodle-doo

In this year of the rooster, what better animal noise to kick off with than the Chinese version of ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’! And no, this isn’t ‘wow, wow, oh!’ It is more like waw-waw-waw.

The rustling wind

A se is a 25 stringed instrument like  a zither, so I like the doubling up of this character to create the sound of the wind rustling.

Tooting and honking

You can imagine Toad of Toad Hall charging around the streets of Shanghai giving his car horn a ‘dudu’ as he goes.

Miemie, black sheep, have you any wool?

This is an excellent sound for a sheep’s bleat. Add your own little vibrato and you too can sound like a Chinese lamb. The character is also visually clever, combining the character for 'mouth', signalling this is a sound, and the character for 'sheep'. See how...

Chinese chirps

Very close to the sound of some birds, this Chinese cheep-cheep chirpy sound. Perhaps a turtledove?

Roger

‘A Roger is the Norfolk name for a sudden squall which makes a loud hissing noise as it comes sweeping over the reeds.’ Source: Arthur Ransome, Coot Club (London: Jonathan Cape, 2009 (1934)), p. 279

Haptic

Edmund de Waal speaks of haptic knowledge, ‘the ways in which it is possible to know something complex without having the need, or the means, to articulate it in language’.   We can sometimes perform without knowing how the thing works, and a friend of mine describes...

Ilira

My woeful lack of awareness of Eskimo culture was helped by Lopez’ limpid writing on the Arctic. A few things struck me including the astonishing geographic map-minds they have cultivated in the toughest of landscapes, and an innate sense of mechanics and materials,...

Kappia

Another word embodying a form of fear.  Lopez observed that Eskimos have lived with more fear than we are used to, saying that ‘on a day to day basis, they have more fear’ (which is not to imply any less courage).  He also refers to someone asking a shaman about...

Nunatak

An originally Eskimo word now in general geological usage to describe ‘the ice-free spires of rock that pierce the Pleistocene stillness of the Greenland ice cap.’ See also my bestellar review of this wonderful book, complete with a mosaic of quotations, metaphors,...

Upirnaagiit

An Eskimo term for early Western visitors. As ships came in the spring the better to explore and exploit to the maximum before winter returned, the Tununirmiut Eskimos called British whalers ‘the men of springtime’. Lopez also mentions that Eskimos have...

A quirky word for an ordinary bird

I was curious about this term and didn’t expect it to be simply the North American name for a long-tailed duck.  Something affectionate about it.   ‘The haunting sound of oldsquaw in the ice.’   Source: Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, p....

Rowing about on a voyage of discovery

The lovely word ‘imram’ is, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, old Irish for ‘rowing about’ or ‘voyaging’.  In its plural ‘imramha’ it refers to early Irish stories of adventurous voyages, including those of Irish saints travelling to Iceland, Greenland or...

A fother of…

Principally a measure word, in England referring to a quantity of lead, or more generally to a cart-load or a large quantity of something.  It also means to stop a leak in a ship’s hull, as in: ‘They fothered their broken hulls with wads of sail …’ Source: Barry...

A claver of birds

A Scottish or Northern English dialect word which seems to have travelled to North America.   It means to talk idly or gossip, and can also be a noun.  Lopez uses it to refer to a noise of birds – I can imagine the caw of crows.   It reminds me also of the ‘chattering...

Two ancient long-haul boats

Lopez refers to some of the ancient boats that reached the Arctic from Europe, including the Irish carraughs and Norse knarrs. A carraugh is a long, narrow, open and seaworthy boat made of a basket frame covered with oak-tanned oxhide caulked with tallow. Source:...

Berms of the road

How did this simple word elude me all these decades? It refers to a strip of land or grass, a bank, or a terrace bordering a river, canal or road.  Or an embankment, such as one built as a defence against tanks. Or a slim space between a ditch and the base of a...

Bedizen

A bedazzling word meaning to dress up or decorate gaudily: bedizened with resplendent medals.  Kenneth Grahame uses a noun: bedizenment. Source: Kenneth Grahame, The Golden Age

Drugget

Nothing to do with trafficking, drugget is a floor covering of coarse woven fabric.  Its origins lie in the 16 century French word drogue meaning ‘poor quality article’. ‘The pattern on the carpet represented bunches of flowers on a light ground, but it was carefully...

Dree

A Scottish or archaic word meaning to endure and used in the expression to ‘dree one’s weird’ – to submit to one’s destiny; the original meaning of ‘weird’ (or wyrd) was ‘fate’. Source: Kenneth Grahame, The Golden Age

Coclackia

This curious sounding (and looking) word refers to flooring made from pebbles set in mortar.   ‘An inner court. Gold loops across the sluiced coclackia.’   Source: Christopher Logue, War Music, p. 99  

Dottle

This nice glottal stop word refers to the remnant of tobacco left in a pipe after smoking.  In Christopher Logue’s War Music, it’s used metaphorically. ‘But when – as is required – we distribute, / To you the delicates, to meet the dottle of their loss’. Source:...

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Dear Sir,

I like words.  I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as strait-laced, cantankerous, pectinous, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp. 

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around. 

I have just returned and I still like words. May I have a few with you? 

Robert Pirosh

Source: Letter No. 009, quoted in Letters of Note, compiled by Shaun Usher (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2013), p. 36

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