Wednesday 25 May 2016

Howlers 14

A feather in her torque

Not everyone realises that vaingloriously, loving-kindness and long-drawn-out are single words. And do they people “play host to” because they can’t spell “accommodate”? When they talk about
obtuse knowledge”, are they trying to say “abstruse”?

de riguerre
(de rigueur – it's about rigour, not war)
exult for exhort
in sunnier climbs
(climes or climates)
astigmatism for stigma
(BBC Breakfast)
forced perspective (false perspective)
banjo wheel barometer (Matthew Parris) (just banjo)
quadrupets (quadrupeds)
It’s still in fairly good lick. (good nick)
useful as a pied d tier (pied à terre or foot on the ground)
peaked my interest (piqued)
mute point (moot)
fundamental tenants of international law (Teresa May) (tenets)

pairing down
my Twitter follows (paring, like cheese-paring or paring a pear)
toe-headed (Very fair hair is the colour of unbleached flax or tow – sounds like toe.)
unchartered waters (BBC News) (uncharted)

Through the centuries a number of ships have floundered there. (foundered)
It’s women who bare the brunt in war ( (bear or carry – but what is a brunt?)

It puts pains to the idea. (puts paid – you take pains to do something difficult)
Save the wildlife habit at Earlham Park from developers. ( (habitat)
Hannah Betts calls Stephen Fry “a solipsistic old hoofer”. (Hoofers are tap-dancers, not actors.)

A feather grows from her severe black torque. (Iain Sinclair quoted by Angela Carter in the London Review of Books) (One of them should have known that Alice – through the Looking Glass – was wearing a toque on her head, copied from a picture by Millais called My First Sermon.)

Most do not know what it is like to steel into the cold monastery church, night after night. ( (steal)

in its heydey (It’s "heyday" – but why? Nothing to do with hay, and the “day” bit may be folk etymology.)

I’m not going to have a discussion about personal people. (BBC Breakfast interviewee)

The new decorations, which include at least a dozen replicas of generic Soviet statues featuring young pioneers and athletes, harken back to a different Soviet legacy. (NYT) (It's hearken or hark, and hark is the one you want.)

amphitheatre for theatre, epicentre for centre (Per Mary Beard, an amphitheatre is the full circle. And the epicentre of an earthquake is the area around the centre.)

Railways forged Canada's lovely Othello tunnels, but now they are open to hikers. (Atlas Obscura)  (You might forge a railway, but you excavate a tunnel.)

Alexander forged new frontiers for the Greek empire. (David Adams) (Not sure what you do with frontiers – draw? delineate? establish? – but you don’t forge them.)

@jameswbraxton & @HansonsAuctions are pooling around #Scotland in a #DKW Auto-Union 1000 Coupe (@AntiquesRoadtrip) (That’s “tooling”.)

Carole Caplin asks “Am I an odd crystal-crunching bird who can hardly string a sentence together?” Is she confusing crystal gazer and carrot cruncher? (2005)
She is not a crunchy new-ager. (
Apparently "crunchy" is “used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.” (urban dictionary) Because they eat crunchy granola?

Lesser spotted hedgehog is a rarer sight than ever.  (For the last time – it won't be – a lesser spotted animal is small, and has spots. It may also be rare and fear humans.)

Does faith fall by the waist-side? (And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up. Matthew 13:4)

More here, and links to the rest.


  1. To the manner/manor born? Does anyone know which it is now?
    Damp squid for squib is my other favourite, because squid sounds so feasible.

  2. It's "to the manner born" in Hamlet! And squid are supposed to be damp - whereas a damp squib (firework) will fail to go off bang.