This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Word Den

Welcome to


This is a place for everyone who uses words, especially the young in years and the young at heart.

I plan to post a word-based challenge every weekday, and short RANT and DISCOVERY features from time to time.

I know it's Sunday, but here's a starter:

Word to use today:  hippopotamus. (This word is made up from two old Greek words: hippos, which means horse, and potamos, which means river.)

Suggestion for use. Do you know anyone simply ENORMOUS? Because if you do, I shouldn't use it when they're listening!


  1. I agree with the remark on your sidebar about words being magical! I have already used the word hippopotamus at least a dozen times today, so I guess I get a gold star! My grandson has LOTS of books with creatures in them and the hippopotamus is a great favourite only we call him a hippo for short! I would never use the word to describe a human being however ENORMOUS they were, I don't think....hippos also make me think of mud etc! Not a good look for a person, I'm sure you'll agree. Good luck with this blog. Can't wait for a GOOD RANT from you!

  2. Stoke City have a hippopotamus as their mascot. Their nickname is the Potters after the pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent. Their mascot is called Pottermus.

    But I wouldn't call him a hippotamus to his face. He can probably run faster than you. He regularly finishes first or second in the annual Football Furlong Mascot race.

  3. Yes, hippopotamus is a bit of a mouthful. Not as much as hippopotomonstrosesquipedialiophobia, though, which is a fear of long words.
    Hope no one round here has that!

    Really interesting about Stoke, Sophie. This blog has a soft spot for Millwall, whose own splendid mascot is a lion called Zampa.

  4. But devastatingly attractive, I'm sure!

  5. Congratulations on opening up The Word Den Sally! I'm a big fan of words, so will no doubt be dropping by on a regular basis. Hope it's a big den though, what with all those hippopotamuses (or hippopotami) lolling about inside.
    Am I right in guessing that the word "Den" was not an arbitrary choice, given your football allegiance? If we're declaring colours, I'm from the staggeringly unsuccessful blue side of Birmingham …

  6. Ah yes, the DEN, well spotted! You're quite right.
    It'll be great to welcome you whenever you can make it, Dave. The Den has elastic walls, so really the more the merrier.
    Sorry about Birmingham. I know what it's like.
    No, really, I do...

  7. I used to love Noel Langley when I was a teenager! Haven't read any of his stuff for years.

    Here are two tiny rants about the misuse of words.

    One: how has palaver come to mean fuss and bother and too much effort, as in, "It was all too much of a palaver"?

    Two: isn't it irritating when people-who-should-know-better use the word disinterested when they should use uninterested?

    OK! No more rants for now. Fun blog, Sally!


  8. Glad the comments function is working properly, now, Jean. Welcome!
    Palaver is interesting, and I shall try to find out what happened to the poor word. It's one I came across as a kid in E Nesbit and thought for ages was PAL-av-er.
    And, yes, people who waste a perfectly good word like disinterested should be read the complete works of Julia Ann Moore until they understand the difference!