This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 29 July 2011

Word To Use Today: murrain.

A murrain on it!

Cursing, then. Often a relief, and sometimes a necessary alternative to violence.

The currency of cursing is sadly much devalued, though. In my childhood there were several very shocking special-occasion words, but now I don't think there are any words left with that sort of strength. Yes, one or two words are still bleeped out on the TV, but they only usually raise a laugh.

So what to do? Well, be inventive, be scholarly - and be careful. Some of the mildest curses are the nastiest. Blimey is short for God blind me, for example, which surely no one would use if they understood for what they were wishing.

There are plenty of invented curses ready-made for the uninspired. Louisa M Alcott had the odd thunder turtles; the Ewoks have kvark; Red Dwarf has smeg; Jennings has ozzard, and I myself had great fun with the swearing in my Truth Sayer books. I'm still rather fond of soft as goose grot.

For the scholars, Shakespeare is, as so often, an inspiration. Cream-faced loon, from Macbeth has proved on occasion a great comfort to me.

Or there's always diseases to call upon: a pox on't! Pustules!

Or there's always the wonderful murrain!

Word To Use Today: murrain. This is any plague-like disease, particularly in cattle. The word comes from the Old French morine, to die, and before that from the Latin morī, which is also to do with death.

Hm. Perhaps we should all just try keeping calm...

1 comment:

  1. Happy to see Murrain here! Sounds like the name of a girl in an Enid Blyton School story. Murrain of Malory Towers.
    The late, great Jan Mark used to say (often about publishers!) "May beets grow in their belly!"