Sunday, 27 May 2012
Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: dolly.
I've hated this word ever since old ladies used to come up to me and say what a nice dolly. It was never anything of the sort. It was a queen-enchantress or a fairy princess which just happened to be...er...small and made of plastic.
Dollys are put-upon, whether they're the trolleys that hold film cameras, the trolley-dollies that serve drinks on aeroplanes, or whether they're being hit with hammers to form rivets or sheet metal or to drive piles.
When they're not put-upon they're silly. A dolly is an easy catch at cricket, a dolly bird is a girl of more prettiness than wit, and if you can have a silly sweet then it's dolly mixture (which also looks much too much like dried vomit). A big silly hat is a Dolly Varden.
Actually, a Dolly Varden can be a red-spotted trout, too. And it's the trout I feel sorry for.
Lastly, and quite bafflingly, in Northern England dolly-posh means...can you guess?*
Word Not To Use Today: dolly. This word is a pet form of a pet form (Doll) of the name Dorothy. It came into use in the 1500s and unfortunately never died out.
Dolly Varden is a character in Dicken's novel Barnaby Rudge. I haven't read it, but presumably she's a hat-wearing red-spotted trout.
*Left-handed. Which I must admit isn't silly at all.