The word of the week was going to be something I heard at the choir I sing in last night (‘chromatic’). But I had a couple of beers last night and now it seems way too complicated to work out what it actually means. So instead I stuck my finger in the nearest book, which happened to be the ‘Norton Anthology of English Literature’ (I definitely didn’t have to move loads of Jilly Coopers and Stephen Kings out of the way before I got to that). And the word of the week, clodpole, comes courtesy of ‘Volpone’ by Ben Jonson.
A clodpole is a foolish, clumsy or awkward person. ‘Clod’ is middle English for a lump of earth and ‘pole’ means ‘head’. So it’s ye olde worlde version of ‘blockhead’.
Interesting fact alert: Ben Jonson was buried standing up in Westminster Abbey (he’s the only one – everyone else is in the more traditional lying-down position). Apparently this was because he could only afford a plot that was two feet by two feet. And just to add insult to injury, they then spelled his name wrong on his tombstone (‘Ben Johnson’). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – everybody needs a proofreader. (If you fancy some insults from days of yore, have a look at my blog, featuring gems like ‘scobberlotcher’, ‘beardsplitter’ and ‘gillie-wet-foot’.)