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Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy @ Bermudaonion weblog where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.  If you want to play along, grab the button, and join the fun!  (Don’t forget to leave a link in the comments if you’re participating.)

At the end of my reading career I’m fairly certain I will be multilingual and will be able to use the slang of many lands and social groups.

This week’s words come from the sixth in the Maisie Dobbs series, Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear. I’m including some words I already knew but are British slang we don’t get to use. I’ve already mentioned how much I love English slang and wish I were able to use it without sounding well, either pompous or odd.

Blokes – “You don’t get these Scotland Yard blokes making telephone calls early on Boxing Day morning for nothing.”

Bloke is British slang for man, similar to our using guy. See what I mean, we just can’t use the word bloke but it’s kind of awesome.

Demijohns – “He stood up and, taking small steps toward a cupboard, pulled out a large box containing a collection of empty demijohns, tubes, and rubber piping.”

A demijohn is a large bottle with a narrow neck, often with two small handles at the neck and encased in wickerwork. I had to look up a picture of this and then, of course knew exactly what it was.

Here’s are some demijohns: Neurasthenia – “First built as an asylum, it had been turned over to military cases of neurasthenia and other neuroses during the war, as had the Clifton Hospital.”

Neurasthenia means a sort of nervous exhaustion. It is not a technical term and is no longer in use.

Cosh – “The first attacks-with chlorine gas-were like a cosh on the back of the head of the military…..”

Cosh is another slang meaning a blackjack or bludgeon. It’s also a verb (as used in the sentence) meaning a hit on the head. This is another word I think just sounds great.

Gaff – “The landlord lives in a house -old gaff, it is, split into about six rooms that he lets out.”

Gaff is slang for house.

Ceilidh – “Hope you’ve not any plans for going to a ceilidh this evening.”

Ceilidh is Scottish term for party. I tell you by the end of my reading career I’m going to be multilingual.

Boffins – “There was a team of boffins-you know, scientists, physicists, that sort of person-working in Berkshire on antidotes for gas.”

Boffins is slang for scientists or technical experts. See I like this one a little better than geeks or nerds.

There were actually a few more words I could have added, maybe next time. I have to say again, I just love English slang and wish I could use it outside my house (I use it a fair bit inside my house).

What what words had you running for the dictionary?

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