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Monday, 18 August 2008


Mrs Cornflower has already addressed the calves-foot jelly issue elsewhere (calf's foot? calves' feet?) so I'd like to take up Glo's point on 'jolly' and 'motor down'. Jolly certainly is in use though now in an ironic, self-parodying way ("jolly good show, chaps!") and more recently as a noun for an event, often work-related yet essentially frivolous ("we took a load of clients to an 'investment seminar' in St Andrews - the seminar finished at noon and we played golf for the rest of the day - basically it was a jolly"). The plural, "jollies" means satisfaction of a fairly basic kind ("to get ones jollies") cf "munchies".
While the dictionary should record "jolly" as joc[ular] "motor down" is now obs[olete] except perhaps when Lindsay visits friends in the country.

Dear Glo, well I don't entirely live in the Edwardian world, so I might occasionally use the word "mobile" to refer to portable apparatus for telephony. As to nicknames (or more precisely to cutting names short) I generally don't care for them, and hat my own, already short, first name to be curtailed.

Dk Pss

Re my last sentence, I was meaning "cut short people's names".

To Dark Puss

I am glad to see that you are back, Dark Puss and I hope you are fine.
I was voluntarily rather provocative of course and I was almost sure that you would feel offended!
From what I get to read, you also use the word "television"! May I ask you if you still use the word "telephone" too? If I understand you well, I guess you are reluctant to say "a cell" or "a mobile", which are both stricly speaking nonsenses.

Re "wireless"
In our high-speed world - and especially in IT! -people certainly tend to use shorter names or abbreviations regardless of the original meaning/name. And we also nickname or cut short people more and more!

Dark Puss is back and reading the best weblogs again, and he can reassure Glo that he most certainly does not take offence! Amazing how "wireless" almost disappeared (as radio and television came to the fore) only to reappear more recently in Wireless LAN and then contracted again to Wi-Fi. The splended periodical "Gramophone" has I am pleased to see retained its original title to this day.

I shall make it if you will eat it, Lindsay!

I am not sure that Aldous Huxley is neglected nowdays. I'd rather say that some of his novels are still famous and others are unknown and unread by the vast majority.

The words disappear - or more precisely are not used anymore - when the thing itself disappears, is not fashionable or other machines/techniques replace the older ones.
I remember that in Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen so often used the verb "to call" for calling someone who was in a different place. I still don't know what that meant, and it couldn't be a phone call as they didn't use phones then...
Lately, when I read some PG Wodehouse's novels - that I enjoyed very much and I want to read more - I asked myself if the words "jolly" and "to motor down" are still used in English.

Sometimes, words age very quickly because people choose another word, eg the word "weblog" was first used when blogs were quite confidential and unknown. After a few years, they became popular and common and then people chose to name them just "blogs". And now, unless you are Dark Puss, you don't use the word "weblog" anymore... anyway Dark Puss is so special and why couldn't he use that word?

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