Category Archives: Language

The Galanthophile

A man I once knew was prone to talking about snowdrops at this time of the year. He was a galanthophile — a collector of snowdrops — and from the beginning of February to the middle of March was in … Continue reading

Rate this:

Posted in Humour, Ireland, Language, Plants, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Why I Won’t Be Watching TVE 1’s New Series, Reinas

“Oh, Jesus,” I said to myself, “this has started out badly.” It was during an ad break on the supposedly ad-less Spanish national broadcaster, TVE 1, when I learned of a soon-to-be-aired period drama based on the relationship between Queen … Continue reading

Rate this:

Posted in Language, naming things, Spain, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Early Doors, Ken and Barbie and Minibrain: the New Scientific Jargon

Science, as well as being about how and why things work, has always been about naming things. You discover a new bacterium, a type of fungus or a mollusc and you give it a name, slotting it into the tree … Continue reading

Rate this:

Posted in Language, Science | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


Recently, while reading Thomas Pynchon’s Mason and Dixon, I came across a word I never encountered before — “pinguid”. The word rang a bell, because I speak Spanish, and its context gave me an indication that I was on the … Continue reading

Rate this:

Posted in Language | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Pig Dead, Soldier On

There’s a cant used on one side of my family: “pig dead, soldier on”. When someone asks for a favour that cannot be granted, requiring the person seeking the favour to continue whatever he or she was doing, those four … Continue reading

Rate this:

Posted in History, Ireland, Language | Tagged , | Leave a comment