“Facts can be turned into art if one is artful enough” – Paul Simon
I wouldn’t have thought that carpenters, stonemasons or other craftsman had a predilection for cunning strategies or slyness. Yet both artful and crafty, with their sly implications, used to mean talented and skilful. Now they are more often used to describe [more…]
There’s no doubt that many expressions we use in everyday life come straight from the silver screen or from television.
To be stepforded is to be secretly replaced with a submissive robot. It comes from the film The Stepford Wives, in which all the wives in town are turned into compliant and submissive women [more…]
You may have come cross the name Australasia in our crosswords. It is the regional name for Australia and New Zealand, and despite the last four letters, it does not include Asia. It means ‘south of Asia’.
Every place on Earth has an antipode, ie the spot on Earth’s surface that is diametrically opposite [more…]
Tongue twisters have been around for years, challenging us to contort our lips and tongues by trying to pronounce the almost impossible.
To make a good tongue twister, you must string together words that are similar but not quite the same, and then make sure they make sense. Such as Sharing crazy crossword clues should [more…]
Having three little granddaughters, I’m familiar with the favourite topics that little girls are into these days – rainbows, unicorns and mermaids. In fact it’s hard to buy a T-shirt for a toddler that doesn’t have one of these three depicted on the front – or dinosaurs, superheroes and trucks for boys (I have [more…]
All left-handed people are evil, worthless, mysterious and bring bad luck. At least, that’s what they used to think in former days. The Latin word for left is ‘sinister’, which has only come to mean evil or treacherous because of its leftist leanings.The old Saxon word for left was ‘lyft’ which also meant worthless. [more…]
Derived from the Latin crispus meaning ‘curled’, this word means firm, dry and brittle and you could say it’s a great example of onomatopoeia, a word that sounds exactly like its meaning.
From the Latin dēciduous, meaning ‘falling down or off’ this word describes trees which shed leaves, usually in the [more…]
The most famous Irishman was actually the son of a Roman official born and bred in South Wales. The legend goes that he was captured by Picts and sold as a slave in Ireland. He escaped to Gaul, where he became a priest and is credited with bringing Christianity to western Europe.
Many countries [more…]
This means something one finds pleasing though it’s more often heard in the negative – but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Tea is, or most certainly was, the national beverage of Britain and it gave rise to lots of idiomatic phrases such as ‘storm in a teacup’ and ‘not for all the tea in [more…]