This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Thursday, 9 August 2012

A Kingdom United: a rant.

If the United Kingdom were a family, it would be the sort of family where, when one person wants to go swimming, one person wants to go shopping and the others want to go to the cinema, they would all say, okay, have a nice time, see you later, and go off happily.

Member countries of the United Kingdom are seldom doing the same thing or even looking in the same direction.

Just occasionally, though, someone comes along and unites us. It's usually a comedian, but just sometimes it's a politician.

Even more occasionally it's a foreign politician.

Still, Mitt Romney did it.

No, no, we didn't mind him saying that the Olympics didn't seem to be very well organised. We never expected the Olympics would be well organised (and if we did, we would have thought it both bad manners and hubris to admit it). But when Mr Romney said he could see an Olympic site out of the backside of 10, Downing Street we were all united in one great cheer of sheer joy.

Because, I'm afraid, in Britain backside means buttocks.

And obviously, every government backside has to be left entirely unobstructed in case someone needs to make an announcement.

Word To Use Today: backside. This word has meant rump for a long time: the first mention of it in my Oxford English Dictionary is from a 1500 version of Robin Hood.
The meaning out-buildings or privy is later (1541) and is marked as a dialect term, though I suppose it must have greater currency in the USA.
Back comes from the Old English word bæc and is related to the Old High German bah.
Side comes from the Old English sīde, and is related to the Old High German sīta.

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