Comments by qms

  • Their scorn could hardly be blunter

    But insults or slights don’t affront her.

    In rock she’s a “roadie,”

    More generally - “toady,”

    And formerly known as tufthunter.

    Michael Quinion has an excellent discussion of this word at

    April 25, 2018

  • The pages of books can offer this:

    A personal mental Acropolis,

    A temple and shrine

    That’s uniquely mine

    Whose priest is the old bibliopolist.

    April 24, 2018

  • They prayed, “May the Good Lord endow us

    With a novice of kitchen skill prowess.”

    He answered their plea

    With well-fed Marie,

    The convent’s most welcome new vowess.

    April 23, 2018

  • A contortionist hailing from Ossipee

    Won fame as a great curiosity.

    From this we may know

    How far you can go

    With hard work and sheer flexuosity.

    April 22, 2018

  • Poor Bobby had thought it super cool

    To start up a geeky troop at school.

    Since scarcely a nerd

    Is drawn to a herd

    He rounded up only a groupuscule.

    April 21, 2018

  • I can find no adjectival version of quandary. To my surprise the OED reports that it can be used as a verb in the passive voice and supplies examples such as, “2007 23 Feb. (O.E.D. Archives) I'm seriously quandaried by the need to create and choose a MySpace name.”

    April 20, 2018

  • Oh, dear! Is this a bad sign for vegans?

    April 20, 2018

  • According to common report

    In Scotland the hunters consort

    To stalk with a wrinkle

    By forming a tinchel

    But still call the killing a sport.

    April 20, 2018

  • Dammit, bilby, I knew you were going to want more info since I know you speak Bahasa Malayu or its Indonesian cousin. The Malay origin was the first I found but now I cannot locate the specific source I used. I have found other sources that suggest the Arabic “ma’salaam” became the Malay “salang” and that British soldiers and sailors serving in Malaya in the 19th Century brought it home as “so long.”

    Now I’m going to be awake all night looking for that damned first google hit.

    April 19, 2018

  • The origins of “so long” are in fact mysterious. It’ suggested origins have been placed in Irish (slán), German (adieu so lange), Hebrew (shalom), Arabic (salaam). Also Malay, Norwegian and Swedish origins have been posited. An early appearance in print was in the poetry of Walt Whitman who reported that it was a common salutation among soldiers and sailors.


    and in many other places.

    April 19, 2018

  • That beverage that formerly seemed to me

    An ordinary serving of steaming tea

    Was nothing prosaic

    But apotropaic -

    A cup of mysterious haemony.

    April 19, 2018

  • Really? I’m always hearing people say, “I’m going to supernova my erupt.” Maybe it’s different in Tasmania.

    April 18, 2018

  • There’s nonsense and much mumbo-jumbo

    In this, our linguistical gumbo:

    In absence of rain,

    The pedants explain,

    You must call a rainbow a sunbow.

    April 18, 2018

  • He dances, who once was a stumbler.

    She sings, who once was a mumbler.

    The shy and unsure

    Find solace and cure

    Emboldened by wine and the tummler.

    April 17, 2018

  • Though life in a burrow may seem

    A low and impoverished scheme

    Some in a snooty vein

    Call it a souterrain,

    But all of us know it’s a weem.

    April 16, 2018

  • A swagman once pined for his Lydia

    Then met a koala much prettier.

    Their meeting was pleasant

    So he left a present,

    Now all of her tribe has chlamydia.

    April 15, 2018

  • The obvious question is, “Who has been screwing the koalas?” There is nothing those Aussies won’t stoop to. Next it’ll be the quokkas. Or (gasp!) bilbies!

    April 15, 2018

  • Recusants grown weary of dreading

    And cautious confessional treading

    Embraced Lutheranism

    As mere tutiorism

    When faced with the threat of beheading.

    April 15, 2018

  • Already a famed bayardere

    Mata Hari began a career

    Of laying and lying

    And diligent spying,

    A true multi-task pioneer.

    April 14, 2018

  • The woes of the gentry are multiplied;

    And country house pastimes are stultified.

    Laws new and obnoxious

    Protect the damn foxes,

    And limit the pleasures of vulpicide.

    April 13, 2018

  • Yes indeed, folks. The kettle is at a simmer and I am trying to keep the lid on. If anyone else would care to set this simpleton straight I would be happy for the help.

    April 12, 2018

  • smell fart.

    April 12, 2018

  • And, in an early precedent for the tv preacher/pitch man, each machine bore the onscription,

    Oh, sinner you need what I vend!

    Those talents you foolishly spend

    If spent here with me

    Will set your soul free

    To find the true way and amend!

    April 12, 2018

  • The pompous word tyrant’s been collared.

    In shame and confusion he hollered,

    ‘Oh, give me reprieve

    And I’ll give you leave

    To tolerate riff-raff like ‘schollard!’”

    April 12, 2018

  • Big Joe’s normal tone is a bellow;

    He shakes down the leaves with his “Hello!”

    His workplace is shared

    By the hearing impaired

    Who think him a perfect workfellow.

    April 12, 2018

  • Before there was genus and phylum

    Or God made adamic asylum,

    Before night and day

    Or man went astray,

    Preceding it all was the ylem.

    April 11, 2018

  • My dreams are torn by incursion

    Of hauntings in many a version.

    Tonight’s chilling flavor

    Was barking mad daeva,

    A taunting malevolent Persian.

    April 10, 2018

  • The Scot and the British cook quibble

    ‘bout tools used for stirring their nibble:

    The Scotsman will hurtle

    To call it a spurtle,

    The Briton steadfastly says thible.

    April 9, 2018

  • The old salt sits down with his dog

    And shares out his bread and his grog.

    They’re birds of a feather

    And, so long together,

    Alike in their tastes and phisog.

    April 8, 2018

  • The soda bread recipe lists

    Ingredients in gowpens and fists.

    So would you know how then

    To shape your own gowpen

    With palms that are joined at the wrists?

    April 7, 2018

  • The Donald thinks walls give protection

    From human or import infection.

    But what could be sillier

    Than this claustrophilia

    And love of such rigid erection?

    April 6, 2018

  • In morals he’s perfectly neuter,

    Self interest uniquely his tutor.

    Should sanctity buy us

    He’s publicly pious,

    In private an unabashed fouter.

    April 5, 2018

  • The critic is mentally nimble,

    Uncovering subtext and symbol,

    But given the chance

    Reads tales of romance -

    A thinking man’s indolent bimble.

    April 4, 2018

  • Inscape and instress are complementary concepts about individuality and uniqueness derived by Gerard Manley Hopkins from the ideas of the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus.

    April 3, 2018

  • Inscape and instress are complementary concepts about individuality and uniqueness derived by Gerard Manley Hopkins from the ideas of the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus.

    April 3, 2018

  • He raids the bird feeder all day

    And drives all the songbirds away;

    Then, trading his swagger

    For a corpulent stagger,

    He ponderously climbs to his drey.

    April 3, 2018

  • See Catherine wheel.

    April 3, 2018

  • Less pleasant than madmouth conceives,

    For Bertie disrupts and upheaves.

    For life that is stable

    He should, if he’s able,

    Obtain his narration from Jeeves.

    April 2, 2018

  • No storm makes a proud Frenchman snool

    No matter how windy and cruel.

    Courage, mon ami!

    With Gallic esprit

    Look cool in your boots and cagoule!

    April 2, 2018

  • I came across a list of Wodehousian words for drunk. Many are already in this list but the following are not: above par, rotten, groggy, ossified, tanked, illuminated, lit up like a Christmas tree, woozled.

    April 1, 2018

  • Per Bertie Wooster - drunk.

    April 1, 2018

  • Prepare your victorious maffick

    With every theatrical tactic,

    With lights and balloons

    And boisterous tunes

    And all of the arts scenographic.

    April 1, 2018

  • Terrain and the temperatures vary

    Explorers, though, knew what to carry.

    A well-equipped chap

    Expanding the map

    Kept booze in the long promptuary.

    March 31, 2018

  • Our appetites finally doom us;

    Our blood becomes fatty and grumous.

    The lesson thus learned

    Is painfully earned

    And wisdom is sadly posthumous.

    March 30, 2018

  • His friends ‘round his coffin all joked

    How much Froggy ate, drank and smoked.

    So squat and so stuggy

    Yet gleefully buggy,

    But none were surprised when he croaked.

    March 29, 2018

  • Though most think them tasteless and petulant

    His fans find his tweets are quite esculent

    They dine with delight

    On venom and spite

    And prize the most bitter and feculent.

    March 28, 2018

  • A gem in the rough by report,

    Was Ernest at Doubleday’s sport.

    His diamond exploit

    Though grew less adroit

    And Ernest’s career was a bort.

    Find out more about Ernest Bafflewit

    March 27, 2018

  • Prof. Husserl directs your attention

    To quite a confounding invention.

    He calls it noema,

    A psychic edema

    Inflating an act of intention.

    March 26, 2018

  • Dear bilby, you must have a heart!

    I will, for a friend, do my part.

    No matter how swollen

    I’ll tighten my colon

    And stifle the streperous fart.

    March 25, 2018

  • I’ve stalked them from dusk until dawn

    With middling success off and on:

    Some words to share rhythm

    And shape a merism;

    I’ve hunted them hither and yon.

    March 25, 2018

  • Or, ‘O faithless kin, my nemesis!’

    March 24, 2018

  • Could be misinterpreted as ‘our farts keep mornings noisy.’

    March 24, 2018

  • The Donald is best, he repeats,

    The best in his mind and his feats.

    To sift his battology

    At best is scatology

    Best sent to the pit of deceits.

    March 24, 2018

  • Courage, bilby! We’ve still got complimentarization, and complimentarizability to go.

    March 24, 2018

  • The sound of persistent sharp tapping

    Provoke us to know what is happening

    Flint flakes and a severed edge,

    The litter of debitage,

    Are signs a boy scout’s been caught knapping.

    March 23, 2018

  • Your typical nerd’s not ironic

    And rarely a geek is sardonic.

    The bytes and the bits

    Please literal wits

    That coin horrors like technotronic.

    March 22, 2018

  • His scalp has been twice overhauled

    But Donald insists he’s not bald.

    If such simple calvity

    Were solely his malady

    The world would be far less appalled.

    March 21, 2018

  • Now isn’t that bilby a nuisance. I do thank him, though I would represent the pronunciation as purr-RICK-a-pee.

    The audio pronunciations never seem to work on my iPad, where most composition gets done. I will be more wary in future.

    There once was a preacher in Chicopee

    Beset by severe insipidity.

    On Sundays he normally

    Abandoned his homily

    And served up a meal of pericope.

    March 21, 2018

  • Theologians tell us there’s hope

    Of limiting vile error’s scope.

    The good can endure

    With hearts that are pure

    And doses of strong pericope.

    This limerick left in place like a miscreant rotting on the gallows. Beware, ye hasty! (See above.)

    March 20, 2018

  • There’s many a callow young wit

    Who,watching one flutter and flit,

    Has spread titillation

    And naughty elation

    Announcing his love of a tit.

    March 20, 2018

  • I find crapulentus and comato-crapulose in the list but not crapulent, which is more common.

    March 19, 2018

  • He laughs at a bright toy balloon,

    And babbles a light joyous tune.

    So ends the adventure

    In childish dementia

    Of him who had been oyabun.

    March 19, 2018

  • How spooky the look the scene took -

    As eerie as woodland can look.

    Damp came to emblanch

    The trees, trunk and branch,

    And paint the bare copse in cranreuch.

    March 18, 2018

  • Natasha sounds good to me. This could be the Rocky and Bullwinkle effect.

    March 18, 2018

  • I’ve had some more thoughts on iconic names. I have been trying to think of women’s names that have the same uniquely identifying value as men’s names and I am having trouble. ‘Ivan’ can mean a generic Russian man but can ‘Svetlana’ mean a generic Russian woman or is it just the name of a specific Russian woman? If I tell a joke featuring ‘Pierre,’ ‘Alphonse,’ or ‘Gaston’ you now that he is a French stereotype but I don’t think the same is true of ‘Francoise’ or ‘Marianne,’ even though this last is an official symbol of the French nation.

    Is this an artifact of historic male supremacy or do women’s names just better permeate national boundaries? I know the Aussies have adopted the Irish ‘Sile’ (after demoting the initial uppercase letter) as ‘sheila,’ to mean a young woman. Is this still current? I don’t think it is used to mean a specifically Australian woman. I will be happy to be corrected in this assumption and enlightened by examples of nationally iconic women’s names.

    March 17, 2018

  • When Celia was angry with Richie

    Her vengeance was cleverly bitchy:

    She’d cook favorite dishes

    But (this part is vicious)

    The portions, though tasty, were titchy.

    March 17, 2018

  • Yes! I had forgotten about Jock. I have used that before when a single syllable would do. Hamish is very good too. I will file that one away. Since Erin McKean has such an abiding fondness for Scottish utterance I need to have some on the shelf.

    My friend Roo writes to tell me of the Aussie habit of addressing redheaded men as Bluey. I suppose this is akin to the custom of calling bald men Curly or large men Tiny. Is there a handy word or phrase for this convention?

    March 17, 2018

  • I have used ‘Sandy’ as a generic name for a Scotsman. A quick google search confirms that it has been so employed before. It is used in Caledonia as a diminutive of ‘Alexander’ and possibly some other more formal names. I used to use ‘Angus’ for this but now I have a grandnephew by that name so it feels awkward to attribute opinions, behaviors or attitudes to Angus.

    I can use ‘Ivan’ and all would recognize that I mean ‘a Russian,’ or ‘Guido’ and a generalized Italian would be understood. What might be some other generic names? Many years ago I resided in the Philippines and learned that the locals were happy to address all Americans as ‘Joe.’

    I have a correspondent in Perth who signs himself ‘Roo.’ There is a notorious Tasmanian who uses the handle ‘bilby.’ Is there a generic moniker for marsupials that we could apply to all Australians?

    March 17, 2018

  • The Scots are said to be froward

    But Sandy asserts it’s a foul word.

    It’s Sassenach sport

    A Scotsman can thwart

    Insisting it ought to be thraward.

    Note: The OED identifies this as a Scottish variation of ‘froward.’

    March 16, 2018

  • In France I once ate salami

    That whelmed me like a tsunami.

    I pray for an encore

    Of that rarest sapor,

    The deepest and finest umami.

    March 15, 2018

  • A hogan’s a nice house for two.

    A teepee or wigwam might do,

    But when cold and windy

    You need a dry quinzhee

    Or else find a vacant igloo.

    March 14, 2018

  • Ludmila’s taste lapses are frequent,

    Her judgment amiss or delinquent.

    For drama’s effect

    She’s tinsel bedecked

    And enters all slinkily clinquant.

    March 13, 2018

  • The old gent’s a bit of a rogue

    And knows that the occult’s in vogue,

    So ply him with toasts

    And he’ll talk of ghosts,

    Or fairies and such rich pishogue.

    As in all of the supplied usage examples, and contrary to the formal definitions, the word is used dismissively to mean superstitious nonsense.

    March 12, 2018

  • Now Big Oil’s determined to drill

    In waters that can’t risk a spill

    The poison is loosed on

    The delicate neustron

    To suffocate, wither and kill.

    March 11, 2018

  • Illusions might come from Fellini

    Or wonders from work of a genie,

    And in right condition

    The moon’s a magician,

    As witness the paraselene.

    March 10, 2018

  • Pronounced chich-iss-BEE-ism. It could serve as an onomatopoetic word for a sneeze.

    The definition calls for some background:

    cicisbeo – n. In Italy, since the seventeenth century, the name given to a professed gallant and attendant of a married woman; one who dangles about women.

    dangle – To hang loosely; be suspended so as to be swayed be the wind or any slight force.

    Hence To dance attendance; hover longingly or importunately, as for notice or favors: used of persons, with about or after: as, to dangle about a woman; to dangle after a great man.

    In Italy all’s in a tangle

    As gallantry’s got a new angle.

    It makes a wee schism

    In cicisbeism

    As men become objects of dangle.

    March 9, 2018

  • At Kittyhawk the brothers Wright

    Imagined a man in a kite

    And welcomed the spindrift

    Portending the wind lift

    The day of the very first flight.

    March 8, 2018

  • Though Donald is notably blimpy

    Wee Donny is oftentimes skimpy

    And needs a small hand

    To firm up his stand

    And cease being puny and limpsy.

    March 7, 2018

  • The prudish among us may squirm

    But scholars and aesthetes confirm:

    The carver of stone adds

    Some prominent gonads

    As tokens of luck on each herm.

    March 6, 2018

  • A marketer strives to achieve

    A story that people believe.

    If still they aren’t buying

    Despite earnest trying

    He’ll crank up the volume and deave.

    March 5, 2018

  • Now smoking’s become an affront

    My pipe is a prop and a stunt

    I clench and caress it

    And (dare I confess it?)

    Pretend I can still puff a lunt.

    March 4, 2018

  • There was a bold fellow from Swansea

    Who went by the moniker Chauncy.

    He liked beer and cheese

    And a smotherinq squeeze

    With ladies good-natured and sonsy.

    March 3, 2018

  • He studied old tales and idolatry

    But, blameless, he’s charged with misology.

    Now willow-the-wisp,

    Betrayed by a lisp,

    He gives up pursuit of mythology.

    March 2, 2018

  • His search for release is frenetic

    And rooted in forces genetic.

    His Dad could enthuse

    Over ganja and booze

    But his trip’s psychotomimetic.

    March 1, 2018

  • Patrick O’Brian was also enamored of this word. See comments at shitfire.

    March 1, 2018

  • A homeopathic professional

    Doles dosages infinitesimal.

    He need never wrestle

    With mortar and pestle;

    His pipette drops portions millesimal.

    February 28, 2018

  • I savor the insult that’s sly,

    That risks slipping unnoticed by,

    But humor that’s ethnic

    Is rather too mesic.

    Martinis and jokes I like dry.

    February 27, 2018

  • When Adam and Eve were edenic

    They needed no crude calisthenic

    They rightly believed

    Perfection achieved

    In salubrious groves and irenic.

    February 26, 2018

  • You will observe that on the top right of every page in Wordnik there is a text field labeled “Search” displaying a magnifying glass symbol. Replace the grayed-out Search text string with the word you want to look up and hit Return or click the magnifier image.

    February 25, 2018

  • While some study subjects that bleed

    Or classify flower and weed,

    Petrography suits

    More disciplined troops

    For rocks are hard science indeed.

    February 25, 2018

  • We know it from lore and statistic:

    A boy who’s persistently fistic

    Will find legal brawling

    His natural calling,

    Rewarding his talents eristic.

    February 24, 2018

  • Is not the spoonerism itself the euphemism? As in ,

    Q: How is the Swiss navy like a baby?

    A: Always sucking and never fails.

    I do not know that this genre has a name.

    See also spoonerism.

    February 23, 2018

  • See argon.

    February 23, 2018

  • Her fashions can make heavy traffic:

    Once celibate, next she was Sapphic,

    Now thinks she’s Earth Mother

    Or something or other

    That’s sweaty, unwashed and edaphic.

    February 23, 2018

  • Perhaps in attempting to subdue livestock the Aussies have misinterpreted the classic French seduction technique - le grope.

    February 22, 2018

  • When enemy men-o’-war meet

    Their greetings are iron and heat.

    The harrowing language

    Of carcass and langrage

    Are all their palaver and treat.

    February 22, 2018

  • A warthog, you’re saying, lacks class.

    You claim that a rhino’s badass,

    But since quite a lot of us

    Admire hippopotamus

    Then call not the poor hippocras.

    February 21, 2018

  • When Ernest and Herr Doktor Otto

    Get talking and drinking till blotto

    They grow rather foggy

    On strictest chronology

    And vague ‘bout the meaning of glotto.

    Find out more about Ernest Bafflewit

    February 20, 2018

  • As compasses tell us direction

    So Donald consults his erection,

    And where it is pointed

    A new love’s anointed.

    His lodestar is lust, not affection.

    February 19, 2018

  • Since today is Presidents Day I thought our maximum leader deserved more celebration. Besides, I had some rhymes left over.

    See comments at lodestar.

    February 19, 2018

  • The Donald mistakes a connection

    Twixt talent and his strange election,

    Thus fools will construe

    Good luck as their due

    In absence of all intellection.

    February 19, 2018

  • Greetings, deepakyadvmc.

    February 18, 2018

  • Ludmila would scorn a lone bangle,

    Preferring her bracelets to jangle,

    And thinks it right cheering

    That each dangling earring

    Should serve as a tinkling fandangle.

    February 18, 2018

  • A teen in the morning is indolent;

    The nocturnal beast’s still somnolent.

    The breakfast convention

    Will hang in suspension

    While hunger with sleep’s equipollent.

    February 17, 2018

  • As all of God’s creatures must defecate

    Let no one the humble bug deprecate.

    Let praises be sung

    Of beetles (type dung)

    Whose appetites droppings delectate.

    February 16, 2018

  • How beastly, touting Yankees!

    February 15, 2018

  • Hunch beneath transgression’s yoke!

    February 15, 2018

  • A Finn, if you press him, resists you;

    Compliance is always at issue.

    Despite your appeals

    He digs in his heels

    To show he has true Finnish sisu.

    February 15, 2018

  • Well done, bilby.

    February 15, 2018

  • Heat bothers the yeti.

    February 15, 2018

  • Hear Bernese teens yodeling.

    February 14, 2018

  • Pronunciation guidance for this word is varied but the best authorities recommend “pert,” a word for which “peart” seems to be a variant spelling.

    Wise counselors now will assert,

    Be never too forward or peart.

    What used to be charm

    Can now do you harm.

    It’s dangerous these days to flirt.

    February 14, 2018

  • Health benefits to yogurt.

    February 14, 2018

  • Heroic bilby taming yobs.

    February 14, 2018

  • Haunted by turbulent youth.

    February 14, 2018

  • Hot babes tempt you.

    February 14, 2018

  • A limerick’s light and domestic.

    Though hobbled by feet anapestic

    It paces and sways

    In familiar ways

    That can be beguilingly gestic.

    February 13, 2018

  • The lithe lass was sure a good looker

    But still her fiancé forsook her.

    His counseling minister

    Advised she was sinister -

    A blithe, unabashed mollydooker.

    February 12, 2018

  • Endymion is the name of one of the tradional “krewes” that contribute a float to the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

    February 11, 2018

  • A geisha takes no silly chances

    So every small detail enhances:

    How sweetly she speaks,

    The blush on her cheeks,

    The dark line that shadows her canthus.

    February 11, 2018

  • Two notes on decollete/décolleté: I assume that the unaccented version exists only because of US publishers’ misguided aversion to French accents. I have never heard ir pronounced as though unaccented. Also, it is defined here as an adjective but is frequently used as a noun.

    February 10, 2018

  • Two notes on decollete/décolleté: I assume that the unaccented version exists only because of US publishers’ misguided aversion to French accents. I have never heard ir pronounced as though unaccented. Also, it is defined here as an adjective but is frequently used as a noun.

    February 10, 2018

  • Sophisticates turn bored away

    On seeing what some think risqué:

    A skirt that’s split high

    For a glimpse of a thigh

    Or top that is décolleté.

    February 10, 2018

  • Sophisticates turn bored away

    On seeing what some think risqué:

    A skirt that’s split high

    For a glimpse of a thigh

    Or top that is décolleté.

    February 10, 2018

  • Sam Johnson loved Hodge, his old cat

    Indulging him till he grew fat.

    Though be it choplogic

    For want of a Hodge lick

    He’d feed him an oyster or sprat.

    Read more about Dr. Johnson’s cat.

    February 9, 2018

  • Joe’s sinned so much against property

    Th court now is begging he cop a plea.

    His record’s immense!

    With one more offense

    His rap sheet will need bibliopegy.

    February 8, 2018

  • He recounts with pride, not apology,

    His labors in humble scatology,

    For eloquent turds

    Can say more than words,

    Enhancing a deep autecology.

    February 7, 2018

  • For -ocracy I’ve run out of rhymes

    That dodge phonetical crimes.

    I dread the monotony

    Of such as monocracy;

    I’ve rhymed them too many times.

    February 6, 2018

  • To resize an image the classic tool

    Encloses the source in a lattice rule,

    A copyist then,

    With pencil or pen

    Precisely can follow the graticule.

    February 5, 2018

  • She renders the lightfall quite magically

    Employing no digital gadgetry.

    She’s learned to apply

    Her hand and her eye

    In service of skillful sciagraphy.

    February 4, 2018

  • Your house-elf, if you treat him right,

    Will clean up your cottage at night

    So, well scrubbed and cleaned

    By your lubber-fiend,

    You’ll find your kitchen shining bright.

    February 3, 2018

  • Geologists drink and get woozy

    And soon become droopy and snoozy.

    They fall into dreams

    Of rocks laced with seams

    And caverns aglitter and druzy.

    February 2, 2018

  • I once ate in a restaurant that described its main offerings as “meat (of some kind),” potatoes “(of some kind),” and “dujours.” I asked the waitress what “dujours” are and she giggled.

    February 1, 2018

  • To mantis shrimp the trick’s no feat,

    Just means to get the stuff to eat.

    They teach us no lessons

    In sonoluminescence.

    The shrimp is an artless synaesthete.

    February 1, 2018

  • So warm and with sweet scents so redolent,

    And where is so private yet resonant?

    To feel music’s power

    We sing in the shower,

    A chamber most cozy and reboant.

    January 31, 2018

  • I dream in this pale Winter scene

    Of atoll lagoons tinted green,

    Where maids without morals

    Swim in from the corals

    To offer me plump pintadine.

    January 30, 2018

  • Oh, what can the cause of this folly be,

    This mad, inauspicious frivolity?

    Their mouths are uncivil

    And spewing forth drivel.

    The Congress is mired in morology!

    January 29, 2018

  • It’s terribly hard to emulate

    How speakers of Zulu articulate.

    You must learn the tricks

    Of consonant clicks-

    To enunciate you must crepitate.

    January 28, 2018

  • The ancient Greeks long before us

    Invented the play with a chorus

    And down all the ages

    We still love their sages

    But don’t use the old loutrophoros.

    January 27, 2018

  • The goblin’s on record as gabbing

    Of prowess at unwanted grabbing,

    But Stormy’s tale shows

    That sometimes he chose

    The commoner pastime of drabbing.

    January 26, 2018

  • It’s published in ponderous tomes

    And shelved in the soberest homes.

    Despite what you thought

    Gnomology’s not

    The frivolous study of gnomes.

    January 25, 2018

  • Well done, vm. Thank you. From the citation Tank gives I am thinking that “Popkiss” might be a “nurse name” for “Hopkins.” I had a grand aunt called Lalla. Her actual name was Ellen, but when my father was a toddler he could not pronounce that and said “lalla” instead. So she remained for the rest of her life. It is a little harder to understand such developments in surnames.

    January 24, 2018

  • The aloe vera’s extraordinary,

    With uses digestive and vulnerary.

    It soothes cuts and burns

    Which quality earns

    A place where the efforts are culinary.

    January 24, 2018

  • Sly fireflies will cook up new ways

    To brighten their luminous rays,

    For lightning bug lasses

    Like lads with bright asses

    Just bursting with luciferase.

    January 23, 2018

  • Oh, tell me not you’re shocked to see

    Self-dealing and gross hypocrisy.

    “Make America Great”

    Was cheap sucker bait

    From sellers of vulgar chrysocracy.

    January 22, 2018

  • A toady’s no more than a bum

    Pretending some tyrant’s his chum.

    There will be a reckoning,

    For Old Nick is beckoning.

    He’ll haste to that hearthside, I vum.

    January 21, 2018

  • As hither is mixed up with thither

    And whence is confounded with wither,

    If you would compose

    Faux biblical prose

    Prepare for a sweat and a swither.

    January 20, 2018

  • cui bono, you sensibly ask,

    When lawyers so muddle their task?

    When simpler folk heard

    A latin brocard

    They bowed to the learned man’s mask

    January 19, 2018

  • It starts as a commonplace meme,

    Repeated, becomes a grand theme.

    Its freshness once past

    It settles at last

    Retired as a philosopheme.

    January 18, 2018

  • Palaver that’s boredom’s camouflage

    Is chatter - no more than bavardage.

    Enlivened with zest

    Of banter and jest

    It jumps up to jolly persiflage.

    January 17, 2018

  • I’ve poked, I’ve prodded and strived.

    At last my conclusion’s arrived:

    When droopy your hose

    (But no other clothes)

    Uniquely are labelled down-gyved.

    January 16, 2018

  • Compare barrow-tram.

    January 16, 2018

  • The Lord when assembling a fit soul

    Is careless betimes in the wit dole.

    Inserting a brain

    He failed in his aim

    So Donald must think with his shithole.

    January 15, 2018

  • Miss Duncan made viewers wax amorous

    By dancing in garments diaphanous.

    The prim and the haughty

    Did think her quite naughty

    But art is at worst adiaphorous.

    January 15, 2018

  • Near speechless, the suffering nation

    Now mutters in utter frustration.

    The goblin’s obscenist

    New claim is his genius.

    We‘re driven to dazed mussitation.

    January 14, 2018

  • When Turks meet with friends we assume

    Thick coffee is poured to consume

    With plates of sweet bites

    That we call delights

    But locals embrace as loukoum.

    January 13, 2018

  • Prestige though it be at low tide,

    The humblest of creatures show pride,

    And perchance you will see

    A dandified bilby

    With ears freshly starched and bowtied.

    January 12, 2018

  • The president strikes his own coin;

    There ego and bad taste conjoin.

    If he can so brazenly

    Profane the old blazonry

    What symbols will next he purloin?

    January 12, 2018

  • See also comments at pottle.

    January 11, 2018

  • If sips don’t suffice then a lot’ll.

    By golly, just chug down the bottle!

    If you still can’t forget

    Then drown all regret

    In the bountiful flood of a pottle.

    See also comments at pottle-pot.

    January 11, 2018

  • drongo

    January 10, 2018

  • Our governors earn lots of mockery

    For mindlessly limp mediocrity.

    We need an infusion

    Of gender diffusion

    To stiffen the flaccid androcracy.

    January 10, 2018

  • You “found” it and it was wrong. I think the idea of a lexicographical site is that you check your sources. I can “find” anything in ten seconds of searching.

    January 9, 2018

  • Imprisoned you learn the enormity

    Of years of unchanged uniformity

    So prolonged confinement

    Promotes the refinement

    Of exquisite skills in chronometry.

    January 9, 2018

  • For some folk obliged to be frugal

    Adventure’s confined to a google.

    It’s not parsimony

    But dear matrimony -

    The price of the benisons jugal.

    January 8, 2018

  • Computers, they teach now at school,

    Displaced the beloved slide rule,

    But give not a damn

    For the old nomogram

    Which once was an elegant tool.

    January 7, 2018

  • Of dullards perhaps not the visiblest

    Once found, though, surely the risiblest.

    To mock the dimwitted

    Is even permitted

    If shown he’s a true perfectibilist.

    January 6, 2018

  • The dancing impulse is eclectic,

    Exotic or comfy domestic.

    In oldsters and hipsters

    Terpsichre’s whispers

    Inspire expression orchestic.

    January 5, 2018

  • According to popular notion

    They forage with fiercest devotion.

    Thus folklore assured it,

    That one who’s obdurate

    Be known as an obstinate bauson.

    January 4, 2018

  • This name for the phenomenon comes from French encyclopedist and philosopher Denis Diderot's description of such a situation in his Paradoxe sur le comédien.1 During a dinner at the home of statesman Jacques Necker, a remark was made to Diderot which left him speechless at the time, because, he explains, "l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier" ("a sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument levelled against him, becomes confused and can only think clearly again when he finds himself at the bottom of the stairs").

    In this case, "the bottom of the stairs" refers to the architecture of the kind of hôtel particulier or mansion to which Diderot had been invited. In such houses, the reception rooms were on the étage noble, one floor above the ground floor.2 To have reached the bottom of the stairs means to have definitively left the gathering.

    January 3, 2018

  • Poor Angus entreated her hourly

    In wooing persistent and flowery,

    But to his dismay

    At end of the day

    He trudged home defeated and dowie.

    January 3, 2018

  • Oh, very good, Tank! Your posting does not provide a definition but my googling turned up this at Wiktionary:




    qobar (plural not attested)

    1. A dry fog of the upper Nile. quotations

    o 1800, Report of the Board of Regents (volume 44, page 237)

    In Ethiopia, where it is called qobar, this haze is of extraordinary density and hides all the features of the landscape beyond the distance of a mile, and conceals stars of the third magnitude even in the zenith.

    o 2010, Charles Barnett, Iscariot (page 265)

    Pietro Gandolfo, inside the old sedan, rumbled by, hidden by the dunes and the early morning qobar, dry fog of the Nile. He fidgeted nervously. He had no idea what to expect ahead.

    It is a pleasure to come across an authentically obscure word rather than madeupicals like “shoemit = vomit in your shoes.”

    January 2, 2018

  • The world grows alarming and scarier;

    How fight off impending hysteria?

    You tame what you fear

    And save what is dear

    By penning in neat adversaria.

    January 2, 2018

  • The generous folk who speak Manx

    Have swollen our lexical ranks.

    Oh, let us exalt it

    And welcome the qualtagh!

    The new year begins with our thanks.

    January 1, 2018

  • Indulge in a cleansing obscenity

    Then face the new year with serenity.

    Despair put away!

    You’ve aged but a day;

    The changed date marks only perennity.

    December 31, 2017

  • He publicly calls for sweet amity

    While counting a critic an enemy.

    He widens each rift,

    Unmoored and adrift

    And tossed on the billows of anomie.

    December 30, 2017

  • From Ben Zimmer’s review in the Wall Street Journal of the book Origins of Kibosh:

    Mr. Little, a professor at Mississippi State University, was the first to suggest in a piece for Comments on Etymology that “kibosh” may derive from the word “kurbash,” a long whip used for punishment in parts of the Muslim world. It originally appeared in Arabic and Turkish, borrowed into French as “courbache” and into English as “kurbash” and other variant spellings.

    That theory received a big boost when Mr. Goranson, who works at the Duke University library, discovered a poem published in London as a broadside around 1830. The anonymous author uses the expression “put on the kibosh” and explains in the next line, “That is, if they was to introduce the lash.”

    December 30, 2017

  • Philanthropists make a vocation

    Of bountiful funds’ allocation.

    If fame’s the reward

    It’s nothing untoward -

    Small payment for lavish dotation.

    December 29, 2017

  • See Alphonse-and-Gaston.

    December 28, 2017

  • The phrase "Alphonse-and-Gaston routine", or "Alphonse-Gaston Syndrome", indicates a situation wherein one party refuses to act until another party acts first... Also, the phrase has a specific meaning in baseball lingo: when two fielders allow a catchable ball to drop between them, it is known as “doing the Alphonse and Gaston.”

    Alphonse and Gaston was an American comic strip by Frederick Burr Opper, featuring a bumbling pair of Frenchmen with a penchant for politeness.

    December 28, 2017

  • Ecophobia, let it be said

    Won’t trouble a sensible head.

    It’s madness abounding

    To fear your surrounding;

    An asinine instance of dread.

    December 28, 2017

  • See gangerh’s comment of Jan. 12, 2013. If it makes sense it does not count. It is an exercise in irrelevancy. A bit redundant for the Wordnik Community page perhaps, but amusing nevertheless.

    December 28, 2017

  • milquetoast

    December 27, 2017

  • For mortals the visit is brief

    And time a deceiver and thief,

    And yet I must marvel

    At assuaging arval.

    The coronach tempers our grief.

    December 27, 2017

  • infestation

    December 27, 2017

  • The captain’s brief health food dalliance

    Provoked the old sea cook’s galley rants.

    The oaths and the bitchin’

    Just poured from that kitchen.

    To enter there proved a tar’s valiance.

    December 26, 2017

  • In crèches that model the geniture

    The infant is always the cynosure.

    While Mary’s displayed

    Poor Joe’s in the shade,

    His fatherhood being a sinecure.

    December 25, 2017

  • Per Ernest the story is factual,

    That this is the source of our cracknel:

    You blow up a swine;

    The meat comes out fine –

    The crunchy fat chunks are the shrapnel.

    Find out more about Ernest Bafflewit

    December 24, 2017

  • Comedians in cold calculation

    Know old jokes still cause cachinnation;

    So spade up and sift

    There’s many a gift

    Unearthed in repastination.

    December 23, 2017

  • Reports of unwanted dormition

    Might call for a thoughtful physician,

    But if shadows creeping

    Are deeper than sleeping

    Then turn to your favorite mortician.

    December 22, 2017

  • Be quicker to pray than to preach,

    More eager to learn than to teach;

    For wisdom’s true essence

    Can be obmutescence

    And silence be deeper than speech.

    December 21, 2017

  • The elf lass enjoyed her hot Lapp cha

    Kept warm by the jacket that wrapped her.

    As Rudolph last Christmas

    Is stew meat on this pass

    His hide makes an elf a fine kapta.

    December 20, 2017

  • The goblin prefers adulation

    But settles for villification.

    So praise or defame,

    To him – much the same.

    He simply can’t bear ignoration.

    December 19, 2017

  • A comma before “and,” as some insist,

    Should not be required in a comma list.

    My faction is small

    But still I stand tall

    And proud to be called an anomalist.

    December 18, 2017

  • A rhymer sunk deep in dejection

    May sometimes support an exception,

    And if he should lack words

    Will bend over backwards

    In postures of pained dorsiflexion.

    December 17, 2017

  • Whence comes this alarming eruption

    Of ravening public corruption?

    Can voters in masses

    Be consummate asses

    And Everyman be a blunt nupson?

    December 16, 2017

  • You’re telling us that when a Bogotan steps in dog shit he cries, “lo que hace tu mascota?” A remarkably placid people, those Bogotans. (Bogotenes? Bogotanos?)

    BTW, the link seems to be a dud.

    December 15, 2017

  • The writing and sale never ceases

    Of guides and advice with the thesis

    That travelers need

    A docent to heed,

    Else fail in their periegesis.

    December 15, 2017

  • Thank you, bilby.

    Have you noticed that lately athletes and celebrities who are given praise will usually say that they are “humbled?” They can jog to the podium wearing an ear-to-ear grin, hoist the gaudy trophy and expand on how humbling the experience is. Of course, they are proud as peacocks, as they have a right to be, but they are unwilling to say so. I think that “humble” may be undergoing an inversion into its opposite. Just as “literally” has come to mean “figuratively,” I fear that “humble” will soon mean “proud.”

    I am an old-fashioned bloke and happy to declare that I am literally proud to receive your praise.

    December 14, 2017

  • The rough fellows draining the keg,

    Though wasted, played mumblety peg.

    It never would fail

    That one would impale

    A foot with a foul jockteleg.

    December 14, 2017

Show 200 more comments...