Tag Archives: euphemisms

How many different words for snow, death… and farts?

Eskimos and Inuit are reputed to have many/seven/50/100 different words for snow. Though it may be a tundric myth. (And anyway, don’t we have snow, blizzard, sleet & slush – OK that’s only four, and I’m not sure about the last two.)

But anywhere with an unusually high number of different words detailing aspects of a phenomenon interests me. It evokes poetic lists. Like these from Belfast poet Michael Longley – The Ice-Cream Man.

Rum and raisin, vanilla, butterscotch, walnut, peach:

You would rhyme off the flavours. That was before

They murdered the ice-cream man on the Lisburn Road

And you bought carnations to lay outside his shop.

I named for you all the wild flowers of the Burren

I had seen in one day: thyme, valerian, loosestrife,

Meadowsweet, tway blade, crowfoot, ling, angelica,

Herb robert, marjoram, cow parsley, sundew, vetch,

Mountain avens, wood sage, ragged robin, stitchwort,

Yarrow, lady’s bedstraw, bindweed, bog pimpernel.

You can listen Continue reading

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Filed under art, language, poetry

Kissing the Gator

1. Do You Feel Free?? It was going to be the title of this post – but Kissing the Gator elbowed it aside. (You can find out why further down.)

How does this graffiti make you feel? Puzzled? Reflective? Called to action? Annoyed (especially if it’s your garage door)?

I saw it the other day behind some shops. It makes me think smugness. The person who sprayed it is smug.

What about this next one? A step or two too far? Continue reading

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Euphemisms for… ahem… you know…

Death in the North is different. We don’t like to acknowledge the event. Down South they’re weeping and wailing and partying round the coffin.

But up North we don’t like to talk about it.

We come up with euphemisms instead.

He’s tatey bread Continue reading

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