This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: laundry.

I'm not long back from a book tour in which I visited Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester and Bristol in the company of three brilliant writers, Gillian Cross, Geraldine McCaughrean and Tim Bowler. We were looked after by Harriet and Nicola and Jennie and Liz from the OUP and spent a lot of the time in fits of laughter.

I came back, of course, with a young mountain of laundry.

I'm afraid that there's something desolate about the word laundry. Perhaps it's the laun bit, with its echoes of forlorn and mourn and torn.

(And corn, I suppose, but until now I can't say that's ever occurred to me.)

Anyway, laundry: a sad tangle of legs and sleeves reeking gently of mortality and reproach. 

For myself, I never do laundry, but washing. It's a much more cheerful thing altogether, washing: well, it rhymes with sloshing, doesn't it.

So, just the ironing to catch up on, now, then. Whatever I do, I don't want to get caught with any creases in my elbows.

Word Not To Use Today: laundry. This word has really come down in the world. In the 1300s it meant someone who washes linen. Before that the word was the lovely lavender, which meant a washerwoman. It comes originally from the Latin word lavāre, to wash.


  1. Yes, indeed, very astute. now of course for ever associated with the Magdalene Laundries. Let's stick to WASHING!

  2. And let's hope that one day before too long we may even have the weather to hang the washing on the line.