January 2018


It’s FINALLY the end of January which means many people (not me) will be jumping back on the alcohol wagon after a month off (I had a drink last night). So the word of the week is in honour of this fact.

The etymology of ‘booze’ is actually quite hard to find. Disappointingly it doesn’t come from the name of a 19th-century American distiller, E.C. Booz (some nice nominative determinism there for you, folks). It looks like it first appeared way back in the 14th century as ‘bouse’ (also how I spell it after a few shandies), which possibly came from the Dutch word ‘búsen’ which means to drink excessively.

Go forth and get hangovers, my friends.


This is in honour of Ursula K Le Guin who very sadly passed away this week. A central part of Le Guin’s novel ‘The Dispossessed’, this is a form of anarchism which is very complicated and far too difficult for me to give a full explanation of here because as per usual I’m very late doing this and I don’t have time to type it all (have a look at Wikipedia which explains it much better than I can).

Please come back next time, I promise it’ll be better.


As well as being a type of bag, a portmanteau is also a word made up of two other words, like ‘smog’ (smoke and fog) or ‘breathalyser’ (breath and analyser). It was Lewis Carroll who first used ‘portmanteau’ in this way. Here’s Humpty Dumpty in ‘Through the Looking Glass’:

‘Well, “slithy” means “lithe and slimy” ... You see it’s like a portmanteau – there are two meanings packed up into one word.’

Modern slang continues to embrace the portmanteau with words like ‘chillax’, ‘bromance’ and, a personal favourite, ‘craptacular’ (something that’s so crap it’s also spectacular).

Weirdly, and rather pleasingly (at least if you’re a wordy geek like me – maybe not so much if you’re a normal person), ‘portmanteau’ itself is a portmanteau. It's made up of ‘porter’, French for ‘to carry’ and ‘manteau’, also French for cloak. MIND. BLOWN.