Friday, 6 August 2010

Kennings

Curate's friend

Kennings, invented by the Vikings, are riddling ways of referring to things. The sea was the whale’s way, and a sword was a – blood onion? (They're always popular at the beginning of the school or academic year – they must be on a curriculum somewhere.)

More from the imaginative Vikings:
war leek: sword
wave-horse:
ship
sky-candle:
sun
bee-wolf:
bear
gannet’s bath:
sea

Love thy neighbour:

bog trotter: Irishman
carrot cruncher:
person from the Southwest of England
castanet clacker: Spaniard
clod-hopper: bumpkin or yokel
garlic muncher:
French person
hash slinger:
waitress
jailbird: prisoner
knight of the road:
tramp
left-footer: Catholic

Adam’s ale:
water
ankle-biter, rug rat:
child
beetle-crushers:
heavy shoes or boots as worn by policemen
big sleep: death (Raymond Chandler)
boneyard: cemetery
bookworm:
avid reader
brainbox, egghead: intellectual
brother of the quill:
writer
bunfight:
tea party

cake’ole:
mouth
cherry picker: lorry with elevated platform
cloud-splitter: Icelandic for skyscraper (skýjakljúfur). In French it’s a “gratte-ciel”.
cow catcher: grid on front of old American train
curate’s friend:
three-tier cake stand

devil's dandruff:
cocaine
dumb waiter:
rotating tray, or lift for dishes
fang snatcher:
dentist
flywalk:
the cut end of the loaf

gate crasher:
uninvited guest
hot seat:
electric chair
idiot box/idiot’s lantern:
TV

last roundup:
death
le rasoir national: the guillotine (the national razor)
long goodbye:
death (Raymond Chandler)
mother’s ruin, rot-gut:
gin
necktie party:
lynch mob
one-armed bandit: gambling machine

passion killers:
long knickers
pen-pusher:
clerk
pine overcoat:
coffin
puddle jumper:
small plane

sea dog:
sailor
side-splitter:
hilarious joke
sky pilot:
chaplain
skyscraper:
tall building

the devil’s lettuce:
marijuana
the Grim Reaper:
Death
toadstool:
fungus
windcheater:
jacket

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