This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Thing To Do Today: beard someone.

As well as being a lovely dark and hedgy sort of a word, beard is also almost a contranym: a bearded man has a beard, but when you beard someone you're trying to pull the beard off him.

Not, I hasten to add, that I'm in any way encouraging beard-pulling in any form or under any circumstances. No. Beards may seldom be classed as decorative, but you never know what horrors they're disguising: nits, spiders, spit, old chips, or flakes of snowy scurf.

No, what I'm encouraging is a bold opposition to something or someone. Sometimes, you know, campaigns just have to be fought.

The traditional place to beard someone is in his den, but I would recommend your doing your bearding somewhere more public for Health and Safety reasons.

After all, why, as so many teachers seem to think, should you wear matching socks to school?

And wouldn't it be fun to march up and down outside the town hall bearing a placard saying VOTES FOR SQUIRRELS!?

Or, as the great Ken Dodd has observed, what a lovely day for walking up to a seagull, throwing a bucket of whitewash over his head, and saying how do you like it?

Thing To Do Today: beard someone. The word beard is related to the Old Norse word barth, and also to the Latin barba.

Which is odd, because if there were more barbers presumably there'd be fewer beards.

I'm just off to make a small placard to put on my bird-feeder which will read

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