This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sunday Rest: tanorexic. Word Not To Use Today.

I have to give this word easy-to-guess-what-it-means points, but that doesn't mean it isn't a monstrosity.

It's a joke, of course: tan + anorexic.

And, well, anorexia is the ideal thing to make jokes about, isn't it. There's nothing like a long period of decline and misery leading towards the eventual death of a fellow human being to have us all rolling in the aisles.

Mental illness? Hilarious. And, I mean, a mental illness revealing itself as a disinclination to eat has so much in common with a desire to keep your tan topped up, hasn't it.

Oh dear. I try to enjoy language in all its forms, but I'm going to make an exception with this horrible word. After all, surely it's only ever used by complete morons.

And the last thing I like to think of myself as being is complete.

File:Henry Scott Tuke - The Sun-bather, 1911.jpg
The Sun-bather by Henry Scott Tuke

Word Not To Use Ever Under Any Circumstances Whatsoever: tanorexic. Oddly enough, tan may ultimately have something to do with an Irish word that means thin. It's definitely connected to the Latin tannum, which means tanbark. Orexis is the Greek for appetite, so tanorexic is more or less okay from that point of view. But not from others.


  1. D'you know, when I initially read this I tried to guess at its meaning and failed (bizarrely, I was going down the road of tannins, like you get in tea, and then I got hopelessly lost). I am, however, rather proud that I didn't "get" the joke - maybe I'm not of the point-and-laugh-at-others mentality of whatever celebrity columnist first came up with this hateful little word.

    1. I don't know who coined the word, Eddie, but a celebrity columnist does sound likely, now you mention it. And of course tannins ARE to do with tans: so full marks for etymology, if not spite.