This is one of my favourite pieces of writing from the late, great
It consists of funny sounding placenames for which he made up meanings...enjoy!
A liqeur made only for drinking at the end of a revoltingly
long bottle party when all the drinkable drink has been
Of amateur actors, to adopt a Mexican accent when called
upon to play any variety of foreigner (except Pakistanis -
from whom a Welsh accent is considered sufficient).
To strongly desire to swing from the pole on the rear
footplate of a bus.
A nostalgic yearning which is in itself more pleasant than
the thing being yearned for.
Descriptive of the pleasing coolness on the reverse side of
One who washes up everything except the frying pan, the
cheese grater and the saucepan which the chocolate sauce has
been made in.
To beat an expert at a game of skill by playing so
appallingly that none of his clever tactics or strategies
are of any use to him.
The rouge pin which shirtmakers conceal in the most
improbable fold of a new shirt. Its function is to stab you
when you don the garment.
That part of a suitcase which is designed to get snarled up
on conveyor belts at airports. Some of the more modern
adlestrop designs have a special 'quick release' feature
which enables the case to flip open at this point and fling
your underclothes into the conveyor belt's gearing
The centrepiece of a merry-go-round on which the man with
the tickets stands unnervingly still.
The sort of fart you hope people will talk after.
A puddle which is hidden under a pivoted paving stone. You
only know it's there when you step on the paving stone and
the puddle shoots up your leg.
A dispute between two pooves in a boutique.
The way people stand when examining other people's
Any piece of readily identifiable anatomy found amongst
AINDERBY QUERNHOW (n.)
One who continually bemoans the 'loss' of the word 'gay' to
the English language, even though they had never used the
word in any context at all until they started complaining
that they couldn't use it any more.
AINDERBY STEEPLE (n.)
One who asks you a question with the apparent motive of
wanting to hear your answer, but who cuts short your opening
sentence by leaning forward and saying 'and I'll tell you
why I ask...' and then talking solidly for the next hour.
The length of time it takes to get served in a camera shop.
Hence, also, how long we will have to wait for the abolition
of income tax or the Second Coming.
AIRD OF SLEAT (n. archaic)
Ancient Scottish curse placed from afar on the stretch of
land now occupied by Heathrow Airport.
The single bristle that sticks out sideways on a cheap
A shapeless squiggle which is utterly unlike your normal
signature, but which is, nevertheless, all you are able to
produce when asked formally to identify yourself.
Muslims, whose religion forbids the making of graven images, use
albuquerques to decorate their towels, menu cards and pyjamas.
One who collects ten-year-old telephone directories.
The ancient art of being able to balance the hot and cold
A talk given about the Facts of Life by a father to his son
whilst walking in the garden on a Sunday afternoon.
The sneeze which tickles but never comes.
(Thought to derive from the Metropolitan Line tube station
of the same name where the rails always rattle but the train
A British Rail sandwich which has been kept soft by being
regulary washed and resealed in clingfilm.
ARAGLIN (n. archaic)
A medieval practical joke played by young squires on a
knight aspirant the afternoon he is due to start his vigil.
As the knight arrives at the castle the squires attempt to
raise the drawbridge very suddenly as the knight and his
charger step on to it.
A remote acquaintance passed off as 'a very good friend of
mine' by someone tring to impress people.
Excuse made by rural Welsh hairdresser for completely
massacring your hair.
Excuse made by rural Welsh hairdresser for deep wounds
inflicted on your scalp in an attempt to rectify whatever it
was that induced the ardscalpsie (q.v.).
Adjective which describes the behaviour of Sellotape when
you are tired.
A clever architectural construction designed to give the
illusion from the top deck of a bus that it is far too big
for the road.
Of waiters, never to have a pen.
Something which justifies having a really good cry.
The sharp prong on the top of a tree stump where the tree
has snapped off before being completely sawn through.
One of the six half-read books lying somewhere in your bed.
Pertaining to, or descriptive of, that kind of facial
expression which is impossible to achieve except when having
a passport photograph taken.
A lusty and raucous old ballad sung after a particulary
spectacular araglin (q.v.) has been pulled off.
A humourous device such as a china horse or small naked
porcelain infant which jocular hosts use to put water into
That kind of large fierce ugly woman who owns a small
fierce ugly dog.
A fitted eleasticated bottom sheet which turns your
The unsavoury parts of a moat which a knight has to pour
out of his armour after being the victim of an araglin
(q.v.). In medieval Flanders, soup made from bealings was a
very slightly sought-after delicacy.
The optimum vantage point from which one to view people
undressing in the bedroom across the street.
The small bone buttons placed in bacon sandwiches by
unemployed guerrilla dentists.
A lurching sensation in the pit of the stomach experienced
at breakfast in a hotel, occasioned by the realisation that
it is about now that the chamber- maid will have discovered
the embarrassing stain on your botton sheet.
A knob of someone else's chewing gum which you unexpectedly
find your hand resting on under a desk top, under the
passenger seat of your car or on somebody's thigh under
The sort of man who becomes a returning officer.
The irrevocable and sturdy fart released in the presence of
royalty, which sounds quite like a small motorbike passing
by (but not enough to be confused with one).
The massive three-course midmorning blow-out enjoyed by a
dieter who has already done his or her slimming duty by
having a teaspoonful of cottage cheese for breakfast.
1. The shape of a gourmet's lips.
2. The droplet of saliva which hangs from them.
A pimple so hideous and enormous that you have to cover it with
sticking plaster and pretend you've cut yourself
An opening gambit before a game of chess whereby the
missing pieces are replaced by small ornaments from the
Scientific measure of luminosity :
1 glimmer = 100,000 bleans.
Usherettes' torches are designed to produce between 2.5 and
4 bleans, enabling them to assist you in falling downstairs,
treading on people or putting your hand into a Neapolitan
tub when reaching for change.
A look someone gives you by which you become aware that
they're much too drunk to have understood anything you've
said to them in the last twenty minutes.
The little slivers of bamboo picked off a cane chair by a
nervous guest which litter the carpet beneath and tell the
chair's owner that the whole piece of furniture is about to
uncoil terribly and slowly until it resembles a giant pencil
The irrational and inevitable discrepancy between the
amount pooled and the amount needed when a large group of
people try to pay a bill together after a meal.
One of those brown plastic trays with bumps on, placed
upside down in boxes of chocolates to make you think
you're-getting two layers.
Of plumbing in old hotels, to make loud and unexplained
noises in the night, particulary at about five o'clock in
The small scatterings of foreign coins and half-p's which
inhabit dressing tables. Since they are never used and
never thrown away boolteens account for a significant drain
on the world's money supply.
1. The man in the pub who slaps people on the back as if
they were old friends, when in fact he has no friends,
largely on account of this habit.
2. Any story told by Robert Morley on chat shows.
A huge pyramid of tin cans placed just inside the entrance
to a supermarket.
One who spends all day loafing about near pedestrian
crossing looking as if he's about to cross.
The principle by which British roads are signposted.
The prominent stain on a man's trouser crotch seen on his
return from the lavatory. A botley proper is caused by an
accident with the push taps, and should not be confused with
any stain caused by insufficient waggling of the willy.
Huge benign tumours which archdeacons and old chemisty
teachers affect to wear on the sides of their noses.
A small, long-handled steel trowel used by surgeons to
remove the contents of a patient's nostrils prior to a sinus
A school teacher's old hairy jacket, now severely
discoloured by chalk dust, ink, egg and the precipitations
of unedifying chemical reactions.
One who is skilled in the art of naming loaves.
That part of the toenail which is designed to snag on nylon
A perfectly resonable explanation (Such as the one offered
by a person with a gurgling cough which has nothing to do
with the fact that they smoke fifty cigarettes a day.)
A pair of trousers with a career behind them. Broats are
most commonly seen on elderly retired army officers.
Originally the broats were part of their best suit back in the
thirties; then in the fifties they were demoted and used
for gardening. Recently pensions not being what they were,
the broats have been called out of retirement and reinstated
as part of the best suit again.
A bromton is that which is said to have been committed when
you are convinced you are about to blow off with a
resounding trumpeting noise in a public place and all that
acually slips out is a tiny 'pfpt'.
Any urban environment containing a small amount of dogturd
and about forty-five tons of bent steel pylon or a lump of
concrete with holes claiming to be scuplture.
'Oh, come my dear, and come with
And wander 'neath the bromsgrove
tree' - Betjeman.
One who has been working at that same desk in the same
office for fifteen years and has very much his own ideas
about why he is continually passed over for promotion.
The fake antique plastic seal on a pretentious whisky
The single unappetising bun left in a baker's shop after
A nipple clearly defined thorugh flimsy or wet material.
A polite joke reserved for use in the presence of vicars.
a virulent red-coloured pus which generally accompanies
clonmult (q.v.) and sandberge (q.v.)
The sound made by a liftful of people all tring to breathe
politely through their noses.
The scabs on knees and elbows formed by a compulsion to
make love on cheap Habitat floor-matting.
That peculary tuneless humming and whistling adopted by
people who are extremely angry.
A seventeenth-century crime by which excrement is thrown
into the street from a ground-floor window.
Condition to which yates (q.v.) will suddenly pass without
any apparent interviewing period, after the spirit of the
throckmorton (q.v.) has finally been summoned by incressant
The bluebottle one is too tired to get up and start, but
not tired enough to sleep through.
A bunch of keys found in a drawer whose purpose has long
been forgotten, and which can therefore now be used only for
dropping down people's backs as a cure for nose-bleeds.
The pleasureable cool sloosh of puddle water over the toes
of your gumboots.
The high-pitched and insistent cry of the young female
human urging one of its peer group to do something
dangerous on a cliff-edge or piece of toxic waste ground.
A large piece of dried dung found in mountainous terrain
above the cowline which leads the experienced tracker to
believe that hikers have recently passed.
A mis-tossed caber.
CANNOCK CHASE (n.)
In any box of After Eight Mints, there is always a large
number of empty envelopes and no more that four or five
actual mints. The cannock chase is the process by which, no
matter which part of the box often, you will always extract
most of the empty sachets before pinning down an actual
minot, or 'cannock'.
The cannock chase also occurs with people who put their
dead matches back in the matchbox, and then embarrass
themselves at parties trying to light cigarettes with tree
quarters of an inch of charcoal.
The term is also used to describe futile attempts to
pursue unscrupulous advertising agencies who nick your
ideas to sell chocolates with.
The last few sprigs or tassles of last Christmas's
decoration you notice on the ceiling while lying on the
sofa on an August afternoon.
The foul-smelling wind which precedes an underground
CHIPPING ONGAR (n.)
The discust and embarrassment (or 'ongar') felt by an
observer in the presence of a person festooned with kirbies
(q.v.) when they don't know them well enough to tell them
to wipe them off, invariably this 'ongar' is accompanied by
an involuntary staccato twitching of the leg (or
A 'clabby' conversation is one stuck up by a commissionare
or cleaning lady in order to avoid any further actual work.
The opening gambit is usually designed to provoke the
maximum confusion, and therefore the longest possible
clabby conversation. It is vitally important to learn the
correct, or 'clixby' (q.v.), responses to a clabby gambit,
and not to get trapped by a 'ditherington' (q.v.). For
instance, if confronted with a clabby gambit such as 'Oh,
mr Smith, I didn't know you'd had your leg off', the
ditherington response is 'I haven't....' whereas the clixby
Technical BBC term for a page of dialogue from Blake's
The sound made by knocking over an elephant's-foot
umbrella stand full of walking sticks.
Hence name for a particular kind of disco drum riff.
Nervously indecisive about how safely to dispost of a dud
CLENCHWARTON (n. archaic)
One who assists an exorcist by squeezing whichever part of
the possessed the exorcist deems useful.
Politely rude. Bliskly vague. Firmly uninformative.
A yellow ooze usually found near secretions of buldoo
(q.v.) and sadberge (q.v.)
One who actually looks forward to putting up the Christmas
decorations in the office.
A leg which has gone to sleep and has to be hauled around
People who just won't go.
One who is employed to stand about all day browsing
through the magazine racks in the newsagent.
Stange-shaped metal utensil found at the back of the
saucepan cupboard. Many authorities believe that congs
provide conclusive proof of the existence of a now extinct
form of yellow vegetable which the Victorians used to boil
An object which is almost totally indistinguishable from a
newspaper, the one crucial difference being that it belongs
to somebody else and is unaccountably much more interesting
that your own - which may otherwise appear to be in all
Though it is a rule of life that a train or other public
place may contain any number of corfes but only one
newspaper, it is quite possible to transform your own
perfectly ordinary newspaper into a corfe by the simple
expedient of letting somebody else read it.
The dullest person you met during the course of your
holiday. Also the only one who failed to understand that
the exchanging of addresses at the end of a holiday is
merely a social ritual and is absolutely not an invitation
to phone you up and turn up unannounced on your doorstep
three months later.
The moment at which two people approaching from opposite
ends of a long passageway, recognise each other and
immediately pretend they haven't. This is to avoid the
ghastly embarrassment of having to continue recognising
each other the whole length of the corridor.
To avert the horrors of corrievorrie (q.v.) corriecravie
is usually employed. This is the cowardly but highly
skilled process by which both protagonists continue to
approach while keeping up the pretence that they haven't
noticed each other - by staring furiously at their feet,
grimacing into a notebook, or studying the walls closely as
if in a mood of deep irritation.
The crucial moment of false recognition in a long
passageway encouter. Though both people are perfectly well
aware that the other is approaching, they must eventually
pretend sudden recognition. They now look up with a glassy
smile, as if having spotted each other for the first time,
(and are particulary delighted to have done so) shouting
out 'Haaaaaallllloooo!' as if to say 'Good grief!! You!!
Here!! Of all people! Will I never. Coo. Stap me vitals,
The dreadful sinking sensation in a long passageway
encounter when both protagonists immediately realise they
have plumped for the corriedoo (q.v.) mutch too early as
they are still a good thirty yards apart. They were
embarrased by the pretence of corriecravie (q.v.) and
decided to make use of the corriedoo because they felt
silly. This was a mistake as corrievorrie (q.v.) will make
them seem far sillier.
Corridor etiquette demands that once a corriedoo (q.v.) has
been declared, corrievorrie must be employed. Both
protagonists must now embellish their approach with an
embarrassing combination of waving, grinning, making idiot
faces, doing pirate impressions, and waggling the head from
side to side while holding the other person's eyes as the
smile drips off their face, until with great relief, they
pass each other.
Word describing the kind of person who can make a complete
mess of a simple job like walking down a corridor.
A very short peremptory service held in monasteries prior
to teatime to offer thanks for the benediction of digestive
A piece of wood used to stir paint and thereafter stored
uselessly in a shed in perpetuity.
CRAIL (n. mineral)
Crail is a common kind of rock or gravel found widely
across the British Isles.
Each individual stone (due to an as yet undiscovered
gravitational property) is charged with 'negative
This means that no matter how much crail you remove from
the garden, more of it will rise to the surface.
Crail is much employed by the Royal Navy for making the
paperweights and ashtrays used inside submarines.
A mood of irrational irritation with everyone and
The brittle sludge which clings to the top of ketchup
bottles and plastic tomatoes in nasty cafes.
CURRY MALLET (n.)
A large wooden or rubber club which poachers use to
despatch cats or other game which they can only sell to
Indian resturants. For particulary small cats the price
obtainable is not worth the cost of expending ammunition.
Dalarymples are the things you pay extra for on pieces of
hand-made crarftwork - the rough edges, the paint smudges
and the holes in the glazing.
A certain facial expression which actors are required to
demonstrate their mastery of before they are allowed to
Measure = 0.0000176 mg.
Defined as that amount of margarine capable of covering
one hundred slices of bread to the depth of one molecule.
This is the legal maximum allowed in sandwich bars in
The gummy substance found between damp toes.
DEEPING ST NICHOLAS (n.)
What street-wise kids do at Christmas. They hide on the
rooftops waiting for Santa Claus so that if he arrives and
goes down the chimney, they can rip stuff off from his
DES MOINES (pl.n.)
The two little lines which come down from your nose.
That part of a hymn (usually a few notes at the end of a
verse) where the tune goes so high or low that you
suddenly have to change octaves to accommodate it.
(Of the hands or feet.) Prunelike after an overlong bath.
The tiny oddly-shaped bit of card which a ticket inspector
cuts out of a ticket with his clipper for no apparent
reason. It is a little-known fact that the confetti at
Princess Margaret's wedding was made up of thousands of
didcots collected by inspectors on the Royal Train.
DIDLING (participal vb.)
The process of tring to work out who did it when reading a
whodunnit, and trying to keep your options open so that
when you find out you can allow yourself to think that you
knew perfectly well who it was all along.
The kind of bath plug which for some unaccountable reason
is actually designed to sit on top of the hole rather than
fit into it.
To try to remove a sticky something from one hand with the
other, thus causeing it to get stuck to the other hand and
eventually to anything else you try to remove it with.
Sudden access to panic experienced by one who realises
that he is being drawn inexorably into a clabby (q.v.)
conversation, i.e. one he has no hope of enjoying, benefiting
from or understanding.
Any music you hear on the radio to which you have to
listen very carefully to determine whether it is an
advertising jingle or a bona fide record.
The now hard-boiled bits of nastiness which have to be
prised off crockery by hand after it has been through a
Facetious behaviour adopted by an accused man in the
mistaken belief that this will endear him to the judge.
Of dog-owners, to adopt the absurd pretence that the
animal shitting in the gutter is nothing to do with them.
The clump, or cluster, of bored, quietly enraged, mildly
embarrassed men waiting for their wives to come out of a
changing room in a dress shop.
A throaty cough by someone else so timed as to obscure the
crucial part of the rather amusing remark you've just made.
Technical term for one of the lame excuses written in very
small print on the side of packets of food or washing
powder to explain why there's hardly anything inside.
Examples include 'Contents may have settled in transit' and
'To keep each biscuit fresh they have been individually
wrapped in silver paper and cellophane and separated with
courrugated lining, a carboard flap, and heavy industrial
An infuriating person who always manages to look much more
dashing that anyone else by turning up unshaven and
hungover at a formal party.
Name for a shop which is supposed to be witty but is in
fact wearisome, e.g. 'The Frock Exchange', 'Hair Apparent',
A street dance. The two partners approach from opposite
directions and try politely to get out of each other's
way. They step to the left, step to the right, apologise,
step to the left again, apologise again, bump into each
other and repeat as often as unnecessary.
A look given by a superior person to someone who has
arrived wearing the wrong sort of shoes.
The most deformed potato in any given collection of
The person in front of you in the supermarket queue who
has just unloaded a bulging trolley on to the conveyor belt
and is now in the process of trying to work out which
pocket they left their cheque book in, and indeed which
pair of trousers.
Sudden realisation, as you lie in bed waiting for the
alarm to go off, that it should have gone off an hour ago.
The smell of a taxi out of which people have just got.
A highly specialised fiscal term used solely by trunstile
operatives at Regent's Park zoo. It refers to the variable
amount of increase in the variable gate takings on a Sunday
afternoon, caused by persons going to the zoo because they
are in love and believe that the feeling of romace will be
somehow enhanced by the smell of panther sweat and rank
incontinence in the reptile house.
The moment of realisation that the train you have just
patiently watched pulling out of the station was the one
you were meant to be on.
The name of Charles Bronson's retirement cottage.
The uneasy feeling that the plastic handles of the
overloaded supermarket carrier bag you are carrying are
getting steadily longer.
Mentally incapacitated by severe hangover.
EAST WITTERING (n.)
The same as west wittering (q.v.) only it's you they're
trying to get away from.
The spare seat-cushion carried by a London bus, which is
placed against the rear bumper when the driver wishes to
indicate that the bus has broken down. No one knows how
this charming old custon orginated or how long it will
The first, tiniest inkling you get that something,
somewhere, has gone terribly wrong.
Measure of time and noiselessness defined as the moment
between the doors of a lift closing and it beginning to
EPPING (participial vb.)
The futile movements of forefingers and eyebrows used when
failing to attract the attention of waiters and barmen.
An entry in a diary (such as a date or a set of initials)
or a name and address in your address book, which you
haven't the faintest idea what it's doing there.
The preciese value of the usefulness of epping (q.v.) it
is a little-known fact than an earlier draft of the final
line of the film Gone with the Wind had Clark Gable saying
'Frankly my dear, i don't give an epworth', the line being
eventually changed on the grounds that it might not be
understood in Cleveland.
A brown bubble of cheese containing gaseous matter which
grows on welsh rarebit. It was Sir Alexander Flemming's
study of eribolls which led, indirectly, to his discovery
of the fact that he didn't like welsh rarebit very much.
One of those push tapes installed in public washrooms
enabling the user to wash their trousers without actually
getting into the basin. The most powerful esher of recent
years was 'damped down' by Red Adair after an incredible
sixty-eight days' fight in Manchester's Piccadilly Station.
The look given by a group of polite, angry people to a
rude, calm queuebarger.
The smile bestowed on you by an air hostess.
All light household and electrical goods contain a number
of vital components plus at least one exeter.
If you've just mended a fuse, changed a bulb or fixed a
blender, the exeter is the small, flat or round plastic or
bakelite piece left over which means you have to undo
everything and start all over again.
Polite word for buggery.
FARDUCKMANTON (n. archaic)
An ancient edict, mysteriously omitted from the Domesday
Book, requiring that the feeding of fowl on village ponds
should be carried out equitably.
The feeling you get about four o'clock in the afternoon
when you haven't got enough done.
A long and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to undo
To make facial expressions similar to those that old
gentlemen make to young girls in the playground.
In any division of foodstuffs equally between several
people, to give yourself the extra slice left over.
The safe place you put something and then forget where it
One of those irritating handle-less slippery translucent
plastic bags you get in supermarkets which, no matter how
you hold them, always contrive to let something fall out.
FLODIGARRY (n. Scots)
An ankle-length gaberdine or oilskin tarpaulin worn by
deep-sea herring fishermen in Arbroath and publicans in
To queue-jump very discretly by working one's way up the
line without being spotted doing so.
FORSINAIN (n. archaic)
The right of the lord of the manor to molest dwarves on
A taxi driver's gesture, a raised hand pointed out of the
window which purports to mean 'thank you' and actually
means 'fuck off out of the way'.
The small awkward-shaped piece of cheese which remains
after grating a large regular-shaped piece of cheese and
enables you to cut your fingers.
A kind of burglar alarm usage. It is cunningly designed so
that it can ring at full volume in the street without
apparently disturbing anyone.
Other types of framlingams are burglar alarms fitted to
business premises in residential areas, which go off as a
matter of regular routine at 5.31 p.m. on a Friday evening
and do not get turned off til 9.20 a.m. on Monday morning.
Measure. The legal minimum distance between two trains on
the District and Circle line of the London Underground. A
frant, which must be not less than 122 chains (or 8
leagues) long, is not connected in any way with the
adjective 'frantic' which comes to us by a completely
different route (as indeed do the trains).
FRATING GREEN (adj.)
The shade of green which is supposed to make you feel
comfortable in hospitals, industrious in schools and
uneasy in police stations.
Exaggerated carefree saunter adopted by Norman Wisdom as
an immediate prelude to dropping down an open manhole.
The noise made by light bulb which has just shone its
Measure. The minimum time it is necessary to spend
frowning in deep concentration at each picture in an art
gallery in order that everyone else doesn't think you've a
The lecherous looks exchanged between sixteen-year-olds at
a party given by someone's parents.
FULKING (participial vb.)
Pretending not to be in when the carol-singers come round.
A form of particulary long sparse sideburns which are part
of the mandatory uniform of British Rail guards.
Of the behaviour of a bottom lip trying to spit mouthwash
after an injection at the dentist. Hence, loose, floppy,
'She went suddenly Gallipoli in his arms' - Noel Coward.
GANGES (n. rare : colonial Indian)
Leg-rash contracted from playing too much polo. (It is a
little-known fact that Prince Charles is troubled by ganges
down the inside of his arms.)
Useful specially new-coined word for an illegitimate child
(in order to distinguish it from soneone who merely carves
you up on the motorway, etc.)
Descriptive of a joke someone tells you which starts well,
but which becomes so embellished in the telling that you
start to weary of it after scarcely half an hour.
GIPPING (participial vb.)
The fish-like opening and closing of the jaws seen amongst
people who have recently been to the dentist and are
puzzled as to whether their teeth have been put back the
right way up.
The feeling of infinite sadness engendered when walking
through a place filled with happy people fifteen years
younger than yourself.
A seaside pebble which was shiny and interesting when wet,
and which is now a lump of rock, which children
nevertheless insist on filing their suitcases with after
The state of a barrister's flat greasy hair after wearing
a wig all day.
The kind of guilt which you'd completely forgotten about
which comes roaring back on discovering an old letter in a
A particular kind of tartan hold-all, made exclusive under
licence for British Airways.
When waiting to collect your luggage from an airport
conveyor belt, you will notice on the next converor belt a single,
solitary bag going round and round uncollected. This is a
glentaggart, which has been placed there by the
baggage-handling staff to take your mind off the fact that
your own luggage will shortly be landing in Murmansk.
Series of small steps by which someone who has made a
serious tactical error in a conversation or argument moves
from complete disagreement to wholehearted agreement.
GLENWHILLY (n. Scots)
A small tartan pouch worn beneath the kilt during the
A hat which politicans buy to go to Russia in.
One who takes pleasure in informing others about their
A rouge blob of food.
Glossops, which are generally streaming hot and highly
adhesive invariably fall off your spoon and on to the
surface of your host's highly polished antique-rosewood
dining table. If this has not, or may not have, been
noticed by the company present, swanage (q.v.) may be
GLUTT LODGE (n.)
The place where food can be stored after having a tooth
extracted. Some Arabs can go without sustenance for up to
six weeks on a full glutt lodge, hence the expression 'the
shit of the dessert'.
GLOADBY MARWOOD (n.)
Someone who stops John Cleese on the street and demands
that he does a funny walk.
Wonderful rush of relief on discovering that the ely
(q.v.) and the wembley (q.v.) were in fact false alarms.
Blank, sly and faintly embarrasssed. Pertaining to the
expression seen on the face of someone who has clearly
forgotten your name.
The puddle on the bar into which the barman puts your
GOOSECRUIVES (pl. n. archaic)
A pair of wooden trousers worn by poultry-keepers in the
Something left over from preparing or eating a meal, which
you store in the fridge despite the fact that you know full
well you will never ever use it.
GREAT TOSSON (n.)
A fat book containing four words and six cartoons which
GREAT WAKERING (participal vb.)
Panic which sets in when you badly need to go to the
lavatory and cannot make up your mind about what book or
magazine to take with you.
Someone who continually annoys you by continually
apologising for annoying you.
GRETNA GREEN (adj.)
A shade of green which cartoon characters dangle over the
edge of a cliff.
A small bush from which cartoon characters dangle over the
edge of a cliff.
A lump of something gristly and foultasting concealed in a
mouthful of stew or pie.
Grimsbies are sometimes merely the result of careless
cookery, but more often they are placed there deliberately
by Freemasons. Grimbies can be purchased in bulk from any
respectable Masonic butcher on giving him the secret
Masonic handbag. One is then placed correct masonic method
of dealing with it. If the guest is not a Mason, the host
may find it entertaining to watch how he handles the
obnoxious object. It may be
(a) manfully swallowed, invariably bringing tears to the
(b) chewed with resolution for up to twenty minutes before
eventually resorting to method (a)
(c) choked on fatally.
The Masonic handshake is easily recognised by another
Mason incidentally, for by it a used grimsby is passed from
hand to hand.
The secret Masonic method for dealing with a grimsby is as
follows : remove it carefully with the silver tongs
provided, using the left hand. Cross the room to your host,
hopping on one leg, and ram the grimsby firmly up his nose,
shouting, 'Take that, you smug Masonic bastard.'
The state of a lady's clothing after she has been to
powder her nose and has hitched up her tights over her
skirt at the back, thus exposing her bottom, and has walked
out without noticing it.
Queasy but unbowed. The kind of feeling one gets when
discovering a plastic compartment in a fridge in which
things are growing.
A coat hanger recycled as a car aerial.
A sharp instument placed in the washing-up bowl which
makes it easier to cut yourself.
Someone who looked a lot more attractive in the disco than
they do in your bed the next morning.
An adhesive fibrous cloth used to hold babies' clothes
together. Thousands of tiny pieces of jam 'hook' on to
thousands of tiny-pieces of dribble, enabling the cloth to
The green synthetic astroturf on which greengrocers
display their vegetables.
The sound of a single-engined aircraft flying by, heard
whilst lying in a summer field in England, which somehow
concentrates the silence and sense of space and
timelessness and leaves one with a profound feeling of
something or other.
To annoy people by finishing their sentences for them and
then telling them what they really meant to say.
To manoeuvre a double mattress down a winding staircase.
A particular kind of fly which lives inside double
The coda to a phone conversation, consisting of about eight
exchanges, by which people try gracefully to get off the
HASELBURY PLUCKNETT (n.)
A mechanical device for cleaning combs invented during the
industrial revoulution at the same time as Arkwright's
Spinning Jenny, but which didn't catch on in the same way.
The pocket down the back of an armchair used for storing
two-shilling bits and pieces of Lego.
Things said on the spur of the moment to explain to
someone who comes into a room unexpectedly precisely what
it is you are doing.
The tiny snippets of beard which coat the inside of a
washbasin after shaving in it.
One who loudly informs other diners in a resturant what
kind of man he is by calling for the chef by his christian
name from the lobby.
Any garden implement found in a potting shed whose exact
purpose is unclear.
HEATON PUNCHARDON (n.)
A violent argument which breaks out in the car on the way
home from a party between a couple who have had to be
polite to each other in company all evening.
The dried yellow substance found between the prongs of
forks in resturants.
The correct name for the gold medallion worn by someone
who is in the habit of wearing their shirt open to the
The panic caused by half-hearing Tannoy in an airport.
The marks left on the outside breast pocket of a
storekeeper's overall where he has put away his pen and
HICKLING (participial vb.)
The practice of infuriating theatregoers by not only
arriving late to a centre-row seat, but also loudly
apologising to and patting each member of the audience in
HIDCOTE BARTRAM (n.)
To be caught in a hidcote bartram is to say a series of
protracted and final goodbytes to a group of people, leave
the house and then realise you've left your hat behind.
HIGH LIMERIGG (n.)
The topmost tread of a staircase which disappers when
you've climbing the stairs in the darkness.
HIGH OFFLEY (n.)
Gossnargh (q.v.) three weeks later.
HOBBS CROSS (n.)
The awkward leaping manoeuvre a girl has to go through
in bed in order to make him sleep on the wet patch.
An 'injured' footballer's limp back into the game which
draws applause but doesn't fool anybody.
The wooden safety platform supported by scaffolding round a
building under construction from which the builders (at
almost no personal risk) can drop pieces of cement on
To deny indignantly something which is palpably true.
The action of overshaking a pair of dice in a cup in the
mistaken belief that this will affect the eventual outcome
in your favour and not irritate everyone else.
The combination of little helpful grunts, nodding
movements of the head, considerate smiles, upward frowns
and serious pauses that a group of people join in making in
trying to elicit the next pronouncement of somebody with a
Descriptive of the expression seen on the face of one person
in the presence of another who clearly isn't going to stop
talking for a very long time.
The pool of edible gravy which surrounds an inedible and
disgusting lump of meat - eaten to give the impression that
the person is 'just not very hungry, but mmm this is
Cf. Peaslake - a similar experience had by vegetarians.
A half-erection large enough to be a publicly embarrassing
bulge in the trousers, not large enough to be of any use to
To crouch upwards: as in the movement of a seated person's
feet and legs made in order to allow a cleaner's hoover to
pass beneath them.
Descriptive of the smell of a weekend cottage.
To move like the cheeks of a very fat person as their car
goes over a cattle grid.
An erection which won't go down when a gentleman has to go
for a pee in the middle of making love to someone.
The result of coming to the wrong decision.
Medieval ceremonial brass horn with which the successful
execution of an araglin (q.v.) is trumpeted from the castle
A burn sustained as a result of the behaviour of a clumsy
hutler. (The precise duties of hutlers are now lost in the
mists of history.)
The fibrous algae which grows in the dark, moist
environment of trouser turn-ups.
Anything used to make a noise on a corrugated iron wall or
clinker-built fence by dragging it along the surface while
walking past it. 'Mr Bennett thoughtfully selected a stout
ibstock and left the house.' - Jane Austen, Pride and
IPING (participial vb.)
The increasingly anxious shifting from leg to leg you go
through when you are desperate to go to the lavatory and
the person you are talking to keeps on remembering a few
final things he want to mention.
The sound at the other end of the telephone which tells
you that the automatic exchange is working very hard but is
intending not actually to connect you this time, merely to
let you know how difficult it is.
An agricultural device which, when towed behind a tractor,
enables the farmer to spread his dung evenly across the
width of the road.
JAWCRAIG (n. medical)
A massive facial spasm which is brought on by being told a
really astounding piece of news.
A mysterious attack of jawcraig affected 40,000 sheep in
Wales in 1952.
A loose woollen garment reaching to the knees and with
three or more armholes, knitted by the wearer's well-
meaning but incompetent aunt.
The ancient Eastern art of being able to fold road-maps
An extremly intricate knot orginally used for belaying the
topgallant foresheets of a gaff-rigged China clipper, and
now more commonly observed when trying to get an old kite
out of the cupboard under the stairs.
The horrible smell caused by washing ashtrays.
KELLING (participial vb.)
A person searching for something, who has reached the
futile stage of re-looking in all the places they have
looked once already, is said to be kelling.
Politely determined not to help despite a violent urge to
Kent expressions are seen on the faces of people who are
good at something watching someone else who can't do it at
Fitting exactly and satisfyingly.
The cardboard box that slides neatly into an exact space
in a garage, or the last book which exactly fills a
bookshelf, is said to fit 'real nice and kentuckey'.
The small twist of skin which separated each sausage on a
The marks left on your bottom or thighs after sunbathing
on a wickerwork chair.
The quality of not being able to pee while being watched.
The footling amount of money by which the price of a given
article in a shop is less than a sensible number, in a vain
hope that at least one idiot will think it cheap. For
instance, the kibblesworth on a pair of shoes priced at
£19.99 is 1p.
The light breeze which blows through your armpit hair when
you are stretched out sunbathing.
KINGSTON BAGPUISE (n.)
A forty-year-old sixteen-stone man trying to commit
suicide by jogging.
Small but repulsive piece of food prominently attached to
a person's face or clothing.
See also CHIPPING ONGAR.
KIRBY MISPERTON (n.)
One who kindly attempts to wipe an apparent kirby (q.v.)
off another's face with a napkin, and then discovers it to
be a wart or other permanent fixture, is said to have
committed a 'kirby misperton'.
Man who owns all the latest sporting gadgetry and clothing
(gold trolley, tee cosies, ventilated shoes, Gary Player-
autographed tracksuit top, American navy cap, mirror
sunglasses) but is still only on his second golf lesson.
The mysterious fluff placed in your pockets by
Hard stare given by a husband to his wife when he notices
a sharp increase in the number of times he answers the
phone to be told, 'Sorry, wrong number.'
The folder on hotel dressing-tables full of astoundingly
Motorists' name for the kind of pedestrian who stands
beside a main road and waves on the traffic, as if it's
their right of way.
LE TOUQUET (n.)
A mere nothing, an unconsidered trifle, a negligible
amount. Un touquet is often defined as the difference
between the cost of a bottle of gin bought in an
off-licence and one bought in a duty-free shop.
A book, the contents of which are totally belied by its
cover. For instance, any book the dust jacket of which
bears the words. 'This book will change your life'.
To jar one's leg as the result of the disappearance of a
stair which isn't there in the darkness.
Descriptive of the pleasant smell of an empty biscuit tin.
The small mat on the bar designed to be more absorbent than
the bar, but not as absorbent as your elbows.
LITTLE URSWICK (n.)
The member of any class who most inclines a teacher
towards the view that capital punishment should be
introduced in schools.
Descriptive of the waggling movement of a person's hands
when shaking water from them or warming up for a piece of
The long unaccomplished wail in the middle of a Scottish
folk song where the pipes nip around the corner for a
couple of drinks.
A droplet which persists in running out of your nose.
One of those middle-aged ladies with just a hint of a
luxuriant handlebar moustache.
The sort of man who wears loud check jackets, has a
personalised tankard behind the bar and always gets served
before you do.
LOW ARDWELL (n.)
Seductive remark made hopefully in the back of a taxi.
LOW EGGBOROUGH (n.)
A quiet little unregarded man in glasses who is building a
new kind of atomic bomb in his garden shed.
LOWER PEOVER (n.)
Common solution to the problems of a humby (q.v.)
(a) The balls of wool which collect on nice new sweaters.
(b) The correct name for 'navel fluff'.
(Of a large group of people who have been to the cinema
together.) To stand aimlessly about on the pavement and
argue about whetever to go and eat either a Chinese meal
nearby or an Indian meal at a resturant which somebody says
is very good but isn't certain where it is, or have a drink
and think about it, or just go home, or have a Chinese meal
nearby - until by the time agreement is reached everything
The telltale little lump in the top of your swimming
trunks which tells you you are going to have to spend half
an hour with a safety pin trying to pull the drawstring out
A wad of newspaper, folded tablenapkin or lump of carboard
put under a wobbly table or chair to make it standup
It is perhaps not widely known that air-ace Sir Douglas
Bader used to get about on an enormous pair of ludlows
before he had his artificial legs fitted.
Feeling you get when the pubs aren't going to be open for
another forty-five minutes and the luffness in begining to
wear a bit thin.
Hearty feeling that comes from walking on the moors with
gumboots and cold ears.
Measure of conversation.
A lulworth defines the amount of the length, loudness and
embarrassment of a statement you make when everyone else in
the room unaccountly stops talking at the same time.
The piece of leather which hangs off the bottom of your
shoe before you can be bothered to get it mended.
The fold of flesh pushing forward over the top of a bra
which is too small for the lady inside it.
The horseshoe-shaped rug which goes around a lavatory
LYBSTER (n., vb.)
The artificial chuckle in the voice-over at the end of a
supposedly funny television commercial.
LYDIARD TREGOZE (n.)
The opposite of a mavis enderby (q.v.) An unrequited early
love of your life who still causes terrible pangs though
she inexplicably married a telephone engineer.
The inexpressible horror experienced on walking up in the
morning and remembering that you are Andy Stewart.
MAENTWROG (n. Welsh)
Celtic word for a computer spelling mistake.
The height by which the top of a wave exceeds the height
to which you have rolled up your trousers.
The small holes in a loaf of bread which give rise to the
momentary suspicion that something may have made its home
A hideous piece of chipboard veneer furniture bought in a
suburban highstreet furniture store and designed to hold
exactly a year's supply of Sunday colour supplements.
A margate is a particular kind of commissionaire who sees
you every day and is on cheerful Christian-name terms with
you, then one day refuses to let you in because you've
forgotten your identity card.
MARKET DEEPING (participial vb.)
Stealing one piece of fruit from a street fruit-and-
The bottom drawer in the kitchen your mother keeps her
paper bags in.
A person to whom, under dire injuctions of silence, you
tell a secret which you wish to be far more widely known.
Those items and particles which people who, after blowing
their noses, are searching for when they look into their
MATCHING GREEN (adj.)
(Of neckties.) Any colour which Nigel Rees rejects as
unsuitable for his trousers or jacket.
MAVIS ENDERBY (n.)
The almost-completely-forgotten girlfriend from your
distant past for whom your wife has a completely irrational
jealousy and hatred.
Warm and very slightly clammy.
Descriptive of the texture of your hands after the
automatic drying machine has turned itself off, just damp
enough to make it embarrassing if you have to shake hands
with someone immediately afterwards.
One who sets off for the scene of an aircraft crash with a
Something which American doctors will shortly tell us we
are all suffering from.
MELCOMBE REGIS (n.)
The name of the style of decoration used in cocktail
lounges in mock Tudor hotels in Surrey.
MELLON UDRIGLE (n.)
The ghastly sound made by traditional folksingers.
MELTON CONSTABLE (n.)
A patent anti-wrinkle cream which policemen wear to keep
themselves looking young.
The little bits of yellow fluff which get trapped in the
hinge of the windscreen wipers after polishing the car with
a new duster.
The melodious whistling, chanting and humming tone of the
milwaukee can be heard whenever a public lavatory is
entered. It is the way the occupants of the cubicles have
of telling you there's no lock on their door and you can't
The expression on a man's face when he has just zipped up
his trousers without due care and attention.
MOFFAT (n.tailoring term)
That part of your coat which is designed to be sat on by
the person next of you on the bus.
The kind of family that drives to the seaside and then
sits in the car with all the windows closed, reading the
Sunday Express and wearing sidcups (q.v.)
MONKS TOFT (n.)
The bundle of hair which is left after a monk has been
tonsured, which he keeps tied up with a rubber band and
uses for chasing ants away.
The fourth wheel of a supermarket trolley which looks
identical to the other three but renders the trolley
MO I RANA
Imagine being on a vacation, and it's raining all the
time, you are driving and the kids are making you a nervous
wreck. Well you are definitely in Mo i Rana.
The substance from which the unpleasant little yellow
globules in the corners of a sleepy person's eyes are made.
A meadow selected, whilst driving past, as being ideal for
a picnic which, from a sitting position, turns out to be
full of stubble, dust and cowpats, and almost impossible to
enjoy yourself in.
The windmaking region of Albania where most of the wine
that people take to bottle-parties comes from.
The 'n' with which cheap advertising copywriters replace
the word 'and' (as in 'fish 'n' chips', 'mix 'n' match',
'assault 'n' battery'), in the mistaken belief that this is
in some way chummy or endearing.
Measure defined as the distance between a driver's
oustretched fingertips and the ticket machine in an
1 nad = 18.4 cm.
A tiny valve concealed in the inner ear which enables a
deaf grandmother to converse quite normally when she feels
like it, but which excludes completely anything that sounds
like a request to help with laying the table.
A late-night snack, invented by the Earl of Nantwich,
which consists of the dampest thing in the fridge, pressed
between two of the driest things in the fridge. The Earl,
who lived in a flat in Clapham, invented the nantwich to
avoid having to go shopping.
The tiny depression in a piece of Ryvita.
The stout metal instument used for clipping labels on to
exhibits at flower shows.
A plastic sachet containing shampoo, polyfilla, etc.,
which is impossible to open except by biting off the corners.
NAZEING (participial vb.)
The rather unconvincing noises of pretended interest which
an adult has to make when brought a small dull object for
admiration by a child.
NEEN SOLLARS (pl.n.)
Any ensemble of especially unflattering and particular
garments worn by a woman which tell you that she is right
at the forefront of fashion.
NEMPNETT THRUBWELL (n.)
The feeling experienced when driving off for the first
time on a brand new motorbike.
NETHER POPPLETON (n. obs.)
A pair of P.J.Proby's trousers.
Nottage is the collective name for things which you find a
use for immediately after you've thrown them away.
For instance, your greenhouse has been cluttered up for
years with a huge piece of cardboard and great fronds of
gardening string. You at last decide to clear all this
stuff out, and you burn it. Within twenty-four hours you
will urgently need to wrap a large parcel, and suddenly
remember that luckily in your greenhouse there is some
The kind of person who has to leave before a party can
relax and enjoy itself.
In a choice between two or more possible puddings, the one
nobody plumps for.
Sort of person who takes the lift to travel one floor.
An electrical switch which appears to be off in both
A point made for the seventh time to somebody who insists
that they know exactly what you mean but clearly hasn't got
the faintest idea.
OSHKOSH (n., vb.)
The noise made by someone who has just been grossly
flattered and is trying to make light of it.
A frilly spare-toilet-roll-cosy.
OSWALDTWISTLE (n. Old Norse)
Small brass wind instrument used for summoning Vikings to
lunch when they're off on their longships, playing.
Bloody-minded determination on part of a storyteller to
continue a story which both the teller and the listeners
know has become desperately tedious.
Someone you don't want to invite to a party but whom you
know you have to as a matter of duty.
To walk along leaning sideways, with one arm hanging limp
and dragging one leg behind the other.
Most commonly used by actors in amateur production of
Richard III, or by people carrying a heavy suitcase in one
One who offers to help just after all the work has been
(Fencing term.) The play, or manoeuvre, where one
swordsman leaps on to the table and pulls the battleaxe off
The final state of mind of retired colonel before they
come to take him away.
Something drawn or modelled by a small child which you are
supposed to know wait it is.
To do what babies do to soup with their spoons.
PAPWORTH EVERARD (n.)
Technical term for the third take of an orgasm scene
during the making of a pornographic film.
Small, carefully rolled pellets of skegness (q.v.)
A South American ball game. The balls are whacked against
a brick wall with a stout wooden bat until the prisoner
Welsh word which literally translates as 'leaking-biro-by-
The fear of peeling too few potatoes.
(English public-school slang). A prefect whose duty it is
to suprise new boys at the urinal and humiliate them in a
manner of his choosing.
One of those spray things used to wet ironing with.
The right to collect shingle from the king's foreshore.
A trouser stain caused by a wimbledon (q.v.). Not to be
confused with a botley (q.v.)
Small odd-shaped piece of plastic or curious metal
component found in the bottom of kitchen rummage drawer when
spring-cleaning or looking for Sellotape.
One of those rubber nodules found on the underneath side
of a lavatory seat.
The background gurgling noise heard in Wimpy Bars caused
by people trying to get the last bubbles out of their
milkshakes by slurping loudly through their straws.
Part of traditional mating rite.
During the first hot day of spring, all the men in the
tube start giving up their seats to ladies and strap-hanging.
The purpose of pitsligo is for them to demonstrate their
manhood by displaying the wet patches under their arms.
Descriptive of a drunk person's attempt to be endearing.
To relate an amusing story to someone without remembering
that it was they who told it to you in the first place.
The (pointless) knob on top of a war memorial.
PODE HOLE (n.)
A hole drilled in chipboard lavatory walls by homosexuals
for any one of a number of purposes.
The lumps of dry powder that remain after cooking a packet
Gifted with ability to manipulate taps using only the
One of those tiny ribbed-plastic and aluminium foil tubs
of milk served on trains enabling you to carry one safely
back to you compartment where you can spill it on your legs
in comfort trying to get the bloody thing open.
A polperro is the ball, or muff, of soggy hair found
clinging to bath overflow-holes.
Satisfied grunting noise made when sitting back after a
POTT SHRIGLEY (n.)
Dried remains of a week-old casserole, eaten when
extremely drunk at two a.m.
The curious-shaped flat wads of dough left on a kitchen
table after someone has been cutting scones out of it.
The substances which emerge when you squeeze a blackhead.
To speak with the voice of one who requires another to do
something for them.
A rabidly left-wing politican who can afford to be that
way because he married a millionairess.
Something that happens when people make it up after an
A stubborn spot on a window which you spend twenty
minutes trying to clean off before discovering it's on the
other side of the glass.
A person that no one has ever heard of who unaccountably
manages to make a living writing prefaces.
The hatefullness of words like 'relionus' and 'easiephit'.
All institutional buildings must, by law, contain at least
twenty ramsgates. These are doors which open the opposite
way to the one you expect.
Fashion of tieing ties so that the long thin end
underneath dangles below the short fat upper end.
The sort of remark only ever made during Any Questions.
(Of literary critics.) To include all the best jokes from
the book in the review to make it look as if the critic
thought of them.
One who is able to gain occupation of the armrest on both
sides of their cinema or aircraft seat.
The man behind you in church who sings with terrific gusto
almost tree quarters of a tone off the note.
A peeble (q.v.) which is larger that a belper (q.v.)
A violent green shrub which is ground up, mixed with twigs
and gelatine and served with clonmult (q.v.) and buldoo
(q.v.) in a container referred to for no known reason as a
SAFFRON WALDEN (n.)
To spray the person you are talking to with half-chewed
breadcrumbs or small pieces of whitebait.
To sew municipal crests on to a windcheater in the belief
that this will make the wearer appear cosmopolitan.
A small dog which resembles a throwrug and appears to be
One of those peculiar beards-without-moustaches worn by
religious Belgians and American scientists which help them
look like trolls.
A person who looks around then when talking to you, to see
if there's anyone more interesting about.
The flap of skin which is torn off your lip when trying to
smoke an untipped cigarette.
A small hunting dog trained to snuffle amongst your
To make vague opening or cutting movements with the hands
when wandering about looking for a tin opener, scissors,
etc. in the hope that this will help in some way.
A curious-shaped duster given to you by your mother which
on closer inspection turns out to be half an underpant.
One of those dogs which has it off on your leg during tea.
To cut oneself whilst licking envelopes.
A person who, after the declaration of the bodmin (q.v.),
always says,'... But I only had the tomato soup.'
The absurd flap of hair a vain and balding man grows long
above one ear to comb it to the other ear.
To make the noise of a nylon anorak rubbing against a pair
of corduroy trousers.
The crossed-out bit caused by people putting the wrong
year on their cheques all through January.
The dehydrated felt-tip pen attached by a string to the
'Don't Forget' board in the kitchen which has never worked
in living memory but which no one can be bothered to throw
The stout pubic hairs which protrude from your helping of
moussaka in a cheap Greek resturant.
Something that hits the window as a result of a violent
The last teaspoon in the washing up.
To make a noise like a train going along.
One who wears Trinidad and Tobago T-shirts on the beach in
Bali to prove thay didn't just win the holiday in a
competition or anything.
The hoop of skin around a single slice of salami.
The infinite smugness of one who knows they are entitled
to a place in a nuclear bunker.
Measure of distance (equal to approximately seven eighths
of a mile), defined as the closest distance at which sheep
An awkward shuffling walk caused by two or more people in
a hurry accidentally getting into the same segment of
revolving door. A similar effect is achieved by people
entering three-legged races unwisely joined at the neck
instead of the ankles.
Tall young men who stand around smiling at weddings as if
to suggest that they know the bride rather well.
The vague uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a
seat which is still warm from somebody else's bottom.
One of Germaine Greer's used-up lovers.
One of those hats made from tying knots in the corners of
The inability to remember, at the critical moment, which
is the better side of a boat to be seasick off.
Something that was sticky, and is now furry, found on the
carpet under the sofa the morning after a party.
The little movement of false modesty by which a girl with
a cavernous visible cleavage pulls her skirt down over her
One of those conversations where both people are waiting for
the other one to shut up so they can get on with their bit.
Nose excretia of a malleable consistency.
Descriptive of the satisfaction experienced when looking
at a really good dry-stone wall.
The flakes of athelete's foot found inside socks.
Apparently self-propelled little dance a beer glass
performs in its own puddle.
The noise made by a sunburned thigh leaving a plastic
An unnamed and exotic sexual act which people like to
believe that famous films stars get up to in private. 'To
Hillwalking dialect for the seven miles of concealed rough
moorland which lie between what you thought was the top of
the hill and what actually is.
The gooey drips of wax that dribble down the sides of a
candle so beloved by Italian resturants with Chianti
bottles instead of wallpaper.
A lurid facial bruise which everyone politely omits to
mention because it's obvious that you had a punch-up with
your spouse last night - but which into a door. Is is
useless to volunteer the true explanation because nobody
will believe it.
The cigarette end someone discovers in the mouthful of
lager they have just swigged from a can at the end of
To keep your mouth shut by smiling determinedly through
you teeth. Smardening is largely used by people trying to
give the impression that they're enjoying a story they've
heard at least six times before.
The correct name for a junior apprentice greengrocer whose
main duty is to arrange the fruit so that the bad side is
From the name of a character not in Dickens.
Particular kind of frozen smile bestowed on a small child
by a parent in mixed company when question, 'Mummy, what's
this ?' appears to require the answer,' Er...it's a rubber
One of the rather unfunny newspaper clippings pinned to an
office wall, the humour of which is supposed to derive from
the fact that the headline contains a name similar to that
of one of the occupants to the office.
Someone who pins snitters (q.v.) on to snitterfields
(q.v.) and is also suspected of being responsible for the
extinction of virginstows (q.v.)
Office noticeboard on which snitters (q.v.),cards saying
'You don't have to be mad to work here, but if you are it
helps !!!' and slightly smutty postcards from ibiza get
pinned up by snitterbies (q.v.)
Descriptive of the state of serene self-knowledge reached
Uncovered bit between two shops with awnings, which you
have to cross when it's raining.
SPITTAL OF GLENSHEE (n.)
That which has to be cleaned off castle floors in the
morning after a bagpipe contest or vampire attack.
To tidy up a room before the cleaning lady arrives.
SPROSTON GREEN (n.)
The violent colour of one of Nigel Rees's jackets, worn
when he thinks he's being elegant.
The erection you cannot conceal because you're not wearing
STOKE POGES (n.)
The tapping moments of an index finger on glass made by a
person futilely attempting to communicate with either a
tropical fish or a post office clerk.
A token run. Pedestrians who have chosen to cross a road
immediately in front of an approaching vehicle generally
give a little wave and break into a sturry. This gives the
impression of hurrying without having any practical effect
on their speed whatsoever.
SUTTON and CHEAM (nouns)
Sutton and cheam are the kinds of dirt into which all dirt
is divided. 'Sutton' is the dark sort that always gets on
to light-coloured things, 'cheam' the light-coloured sort
that clings to dark items. Anyone who has ever found
Marmite stains on a dress-shirt or seagull goo on a dinner
jacket (a) knows all about sutton and cheam, and (b) is
going to some very curious dinner parties.
Swanage is the series of diversionary tactics used when
trying to cover up the existence of a glossop (q.v.) and
may include (a) uttering a highpitched laugh and pointing
out of the window (NB. this doesn't work more that twice);
(b) sneezing as loudly as possible and wiping the glossop
off the table in the same movement as whipping out your
handkerchief; (c) saying 'Christ! I seem to have dropped
some shit on your table' (very unwise); (d) saying 'Christ,
who did that?' (better) (e) pressing your elbow on the
glossop itself and working your arms slowly to the edge of
the table; (f) leaving the glossop where it is but moving a
plate over it and putting up with sitting at an
uncomfortable angle the rest of the meal; or, if the
glossop is in too exposed a position, (g) leaving it there
unremarked except for the occasional humourous glance.
Complete shagged out after a hard day having income tax
explained to you.
SYMOND'S YAT (n.)
The little spoonful inside the lid of a recently opened
TABLEY SUPERIOR (n.)
The look directed at you in a theatre bar in the interval
by people who've already got their drinks.
The sound of a rubber eraser coming to rest after dropping
off a desk in a very quiet room.
To make loud noises during the night to let the burglars
know you are in.
An embarrassing mistake arising out of confusing the shape
of something rather rude with something perfectly ordinary
when groping for it in the darkness.
A common example of a tegucigalpa is when a woman pulls a
packet of Tampax out of her bag and offers them around
under the impression that it is a carton of cigarettes.
Ancient mad tramp who jabbers to himself and swears loudly
and obscenely on station platforms and traffic islands.
THROCKING (participial vb.)
The action of countinually pushing down the lever on a
pop-up toaster in the hope that you will thereby get it to
understand that you want it to toast something.
Also : a style of drum-playing favoured by Nigel Olsson of
the Elton John Band, reminiscent of the sound of someone
slapping a frankfurter against a bucket. An excellent
example of this is to be heard on 'Someone Save My Life
Tonight' from the album Captain Fantastic and the Brown
The soul of a departed madman : one of those now known to
inhabit the timing mechanism of pop-up toasters.
The irritating man next to you in a concert who thinks
he's (a) the conductor, (b) the brass section.
To hold a ruler on one end on a desk and make the other
end go bbddbbddbbrrbrrrrddrr.
A rucked-up edge of carpet or linoleum which everyone says
someone will trip over and break a leg unless it gets
fixed. After a year or two someone trips over it and breaks
Criss-cross wooden construction hung on a wall in a
teenage girl's bedroom which is covered with glass bambies
and poodles, matching pigs and porcelain ponies in various
The corner of a toenail from which satisfying little black
deposits may be sprung.
The accomplice or 'lure' who gets punters to participate
in the three-card trick on London streets by winning an
improbable amount of money very easily.
The man-to-man chumminess adopted by an employer as a
prelude for telling an employee that he's going to have to
let him go.
(Of small nasty children.) To fall over very gently, look
around to see who's about, and then yell blue murder.
A man who amuses himself in your lavatory by pulling the
chain in midpee and then seeing if he can finish before
the flush does.
The feeling of silver paper against your fillings.
One whose idea of a good time is to stand behind his front
hedge and give surly nods to people he doesn't know.
The business of talking amiably and aimlessly to the
barman at the local.
A crease or fold in an underblanket, the removal of which
involves getting out of bed an largely remaking it.
What the police in Leith require you to say in order to
prove that you are not drunk.
TOOTING BEC (n.)
A car behind which one draws up at the traffic lights and
hoots at when the lights go green before realising that the
car is parked and there is no one inside.
Narrow but thickly grimed strip of floor between the
fridge and the sink unit in the kitchen of a rented flat.
Generic term for anything which comes out of a gush
despite all your careful efforts to let it out gently, e.g.
flour into a white souce, tomato ketchup on to fried fish,
sperm into a human being, etc.
The riduculous two-inch hunch that people adopt when
arriving late for the theatre in the vain and futile hope
that it will minimise either the embarrassment of the lack
of visibility for the rest of the audience.
To make a noise like a train crossing a set of points.
A very thick and heavy drift of snow balanced precariously
on the edge of a door porch waiting for what it judges to
be the correct moment to fall. From the ancient Greek
legend 'The Treewofe of Damocles'.
A form of intelligent grass. It grows a single, tough
stalk and makes its home on lawns. When it sees the
lawnmover coming it lies down and pops up again after it
has gone by.
The useless epaulettes on an expensive raincoat.
A hideous wooden ornament that people hang over the
mantelpiece to prove they've been to Africa.
A slurp of beer which has accidentally gone down your
The involuntary abdominal gurgling which fills the silence
following someone else's inimate personal revelation.
TWEEDSMUIR (collective n.)
The name given to the extensive collection of hats kept in
the downstairs lavatory which don't fit anyone in the
TWEMLOW GREEN (n.)
The colour of some of Nigel Rees's trousers, worn in the
mistaken belief that they go rather well with his sproston
green (q.v.) jackets.
A popular East European outdoor game in which the first
person to reach the front of the meat queue wins, and the
losers have to forfeit their bath plugs.
TYNE and WEAR (nouns)
The 'Tyne' is the small priceless or vital object
accidentally dropped on the floor (e.g. diamond tieclip,
contact lens) and the 'wear' is the large immovable object
(e.g. Welsh dreser, car-crusher) that it shelters under.
The spittle which builds up on the floor of the Royal
An over-developed epiglottis found in middle-aged
The correct name for either of the deaf Scandinavian
tourists who are standing two abreast in front of you on
The awful moment which follows a dorchester (q.v.) when a
speaker weighs up whether to repeat an amusing remark after
nobody laughed the last time. To be on the horns of an
umberleigh is to wonder whether people didn't hear the
remark, or whether they did hear it and just didn't think
it was funny, which was why somebody coughed.
That part of a kitchen cupboard which contains an
unnecessarily large number of milk jugs.
A small but immensely complex mechanical device which is
essentially the 'brain' of a modern coffee-vending machine,
and which enables the machine to take its own decisions.
On ornate head-dress or loose garment worn by a person in
the belief that it renders then invisibly native and not
like a tourist at all. People who don huge colonial straw
hats with 'I Luv Lagos' on them in Nigeria, or fat
solicitors from Tonbridge on holiday in Malaya who insist
on appearing in the hotel lobby wearing a sarong know what
we're on about.
The technical name for one of those huge trucks with
whirling brushes on the bottom used to clean streets.
One who, having been visited as a child by a mysterious
gypsy lady, is gifted with the strange power of being able
to operate the air-nozzles above aeroplane seats.
A Durex machine which doesn't have the phrase 'So was the
Titanic' scrawled on it. The word has now fallen into
A strain of perfectly healthy rodent which develops cancer
the moment it enters a laboratory.
One who does not approve of araglins (q.v.)
The rage of Roy Jenkins.
The tools with which a dentist can inflict the greatest
pain. Formerly, which tool this was was dependent upon the
imagination and skill of the individual dentist, though
now, with technological advances, weems can be bought
The hideous moment of confirmation that the disaster
presaged in the ely (q.v.) has actually struck.
WENDENS AMBO (n.)
(Veterinary term.) The operation to trace an object
swallowed by a cow through all its seven stomachs. Hence,
also (1) en expedition to discover where the exits are in
the Barbican Centre, and (2) a search through the complete
works of Chaucer for all the rude bits.
WEST WITTERING (participial vb.)
The uncontrollable twitching which breaks out when you're
trying to get away from the most boring person at a party.
A moist penis.
WHAPLODE DROVE (n.)
A homicidal golf stroke.
A business card in your wallet belonging to someone whom you
have no recollection of meeting.
The noise which occurs (often by night) in a strange house,
which is too short and too irregular for you ever to be
able to find out what it is and where it comes from.
The sort of person who impersonates trimphones.
If, when talking to someone you know has only one leg,
you're trying to treat then perfectly casually and
normally, but find to your horror that your conversation is
liberally studded with references to (a) Long John Silver,
(b) Hopalong Cassidy, (c) The Hockey Cokey, (d) 'putting
your foot in it', (e) 'the last leg of the UEFA
competition', you are said to have commited a wigan.
The word is derived from the fact that sub-editors at ITN
used to manage to mention the name of either the town
Wigan, or Lord Wigg, in every fourth script that Reginald
Bosanquet was given to read.
To rip a piece of sticky plaster off your skin as fast as
possible in the hope that it will (a) show how brave you
are, and (b) not hurt.
Of a person whose heart is in the wrong place (i.e.
between their legs).
That last drop which, no matter how much you shake it,
always goes down your trouser leg.
A lost object which turns up immediately you've gone and
bought a replacement for it.
A person in a resturant who suggest to their companions
that they should split the cost of the meal equally, and
then orders two packets of cigarettes on the bill.
The cry of alacrity with which a sprightly eighty-year-old
breaks the ice on the lake when going for a swim on
WOKING (participial vb.)
Standing in the kitchen wondering what you came in here
A mumbled, mispronounced or missheard word in a song,
speech or play. Derived from the well-known mumbles passage
in Hamlet :
'...and the spurns,
That patient merit of the unworthy
When he himself might his quietus
With a bare bodkin? Who
To grunt and sweat under a weary
A kind of poltergeist which specialises in stealing new
copies of the A-Z from your car.
A person who never actually gets round to doing anything
because he spends all his time writing out lists headed
'Things to Do (Urgent)'.
WORMELOW TUMP (n.)
Any seventeen-year-old who doesn't know about anything at
all in the world other than bicycle gears.
The feeling after having tried to dry oneself with a damp
Of a steel ball, to settle into a hole.
and gazing shrewdly at you he will give the impression that
he is infinitely wise and 5 ft 11 in.
WYOMING (participial vb.)
Moving in hurried desperation from one cubicle to another
in a public lavatory trying to find one which has a lock on
the door, a seat on the bowl and no brown streaks on the
(Of offended pooves.) To exit huffily from a boutique.
To shout at foreigners in the belief that the louder you
speak, the better they'll understand you.
Dishearteningly white piece of bread which sits limply in
a pop-up toaster during a protracted throcking (q.v.)
One of the hat-hanging corks which Australians wear for
making Qantas commercials.
A 'yes, maybe' which means 'no'.
YONDER BOGINE (n.)
The kind of resturant advertised as 'just three minutes
from this cinema' which clearly nobody ever goes to and,
even if they had ever contemplated it, have certainly
changed their mind since seeing the advert.
(Rare.) The combined thrill of pain and shame when being
caught in public plucking your nostril-hairs and stuffing
them into your side-pocket.
To shift the position of the shoulder straps on a heavy
bag or rucksack in a vain attempt to make it seem lighter.
Hence : to laugh falsely and heartily at an unfunny
remark. 'Jasmine yorked politely, loathing him to the
depths of her being' - Virginia Woolf.
ZEAL MONACHORUM (n.)
(Skiing term.) To ski with 'zeal monchorum' is to descend
the top three quarters of the mountain in a quivering blue
funk, but on arriving at the gentle bit just in front of the
resturant to whizz to a stop like a victorious