This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Thing To Do Today: be squeamish.

It's been a bit damp, here, and all the slugs and snails of England are rushing out (all right, all right, it's a slow rush, okay?) to enjoy the feeling of cool moisture on their slime.

We being gardeners, kind, and squeamish, we pick them up with a trowel, put them in a tin, and take them, about half a kilogram at a time, for a long walk through the woods.

Slugs and snails are said to lose their sense of direction after twenty metres or so, but we take them a lot further just to make sure.

And I'm very glad to see the back of them, too.

I don't like slugs, but what are you squeamish about? Mud? That lettuce you bought with such good intentions a month ago but which has now turned into something lurking darkly and slimily at the bottom of the fridge?


Snot? Dribble? Poo?

Well, they're mostly sensible things to avoid, if possible. Yes, squeamishness is really rather clever, once you come to think about it. Isn't it.

File:Huge black slug feasting on hare droppings. - - 455122.jpg
slug feasting on hare droppings. Photo: Des Colhoun
Thing To Do Today: be squeamish. This word comes from the Anglo-French word escoymous, but where it came from before that is a mystery.



  1. 'Squeamish' is wonderfully phonosemantic, and I think it should have an accompanying verb too - 'to squeam' (although 'Don't squeam!" does sound like reproof from someone that can't pronounce their R's, and if anything undermines effective reproof, it's that).

  2. Gosh, I feel like M Jourdain - I've been phonosemantic all my life without knowing it.
    You're dead right, though, Ed, we need the word squeam - and now it's on Google, thanks to you, I suppose we have it. You are a public benefactor!